The global economy is currently in the toilet. Working-class people are worried about job security and searches for “sell my house” are up 147% in July, as leaders argue over the definition of recession. There are many things beyond our control.
However, in these turbulent and uncertain times, is can be helpful to shift focus to the things that are within our control. Here are a few simple habits that could help shift the trajectory of your financial future:
- Pick a high-paying career field. “Following your passion” may be honorable but it probably won’t make you wealthy. Follow the money on this one and pick a career that pays. Science, technology, engineering, medicine, and the trades are great options. If you’ve already obtained a liberal arts degree, begin pivoting and pursuing higher-value lateral moves within or outside your current employer.
- Avoid credit card debt. Period. If you use a card to collect points and miles, be responsible and pay off the card in full every month. That 2% cash back is nothing compared to the 29% interest being accrued.
- Avoid the news. It’s a waste of time. If you must be aware of current events, ask a friend or family member for a weekly recap. Use that time to make money to pursue a certification for your industry or work on a side hustle.
- Learn from millionaires. Don’t hate people who have found success, but learn from them. Read blogs and books about them and then copy what they do.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Track what you earn and what you spend. Consider your obligations and your dreams. Develop a plan that incorporates both your monthly bills and long-term goals. Continually check in to make sure you’re living within your means.
- Automate saving, investing, and bill paying. Everything should be on auto-pilot. Once your budget is established, you won’t notice or miss the money being siphoned off to its proper destination.
- Show up to work early. This may be less applicable with the increase in remote work, but you would be surprised at how well this works. People view you as a hard worker when you’re early every day. That helps you come promotion time.
- Accept promotions. But only take it if it’s also more money. Promotions often entail more work, more time, and more responsibility, but increased money means increased wealth-building power.
- Switch jobs. Continually be on the lookout for better jobs and make the switch if they offer you more money. Just like your career choice, go with the money. Gone are the days of working for one company your whole life.
- Ignore the Joneses. Don’t worry about what others do. Their car doesn’t matter. Their house doesn’t matter. Their vacations don’t matter. Do what’s right for you and avoid debt. The wealthiest people I know don’t flaunt, they invest.
- Prioritize your health. It’s hard to make money if you’re sick, injured, or suffering from chronic illness. You want it to be easy to make money, not hard, and good health will ensure that. Eat well, make time for exercise, and try to stay in a good head space.
- Cut alcohol. It costs too much money and many people make poor decisions when you drink. Those two facts alone are enough to stay away. Instead go out for coffee with a friend or enjoy a bubbly kombucha to relax.
- Say “yes” to every opportunity. When you’re starting out you should be saying yes to everything. Your breadth and depth of experience will grow and you’ll learn what to say no to. Then you can double down on the things you should say yes to–the areas in which you most excel.
- Cut off negative people. People who don’t want to see you win will only keep you down. Don’t listen to criticisms from people whose lives you don’t envy.
- Talk about money with your spouse. While it may be boring to discuss monthly bills and unexpected expenses, it’s important to keep tabs on where your money is going. Frequent discussions helps identify overspending, plan for new goals, and celebrate even the smallest wins.
The key is to be consistent with these habits. When you develop habits that promote saving money and building wealth, more money will follow. Your income will increase, your investments will grow, and your good habits will encourage you to find new ways to save and earn money. It won’t happen overnight, nothing does, but it will happen.