Of the tens of thousands of decisions that you make each day, how many of these decisions are directly related to money?
Throughout the past year, we incurred 2,129 outgoing financial transactions (thanks YNAB for making that count easy!). That’s 178 per month and nearly 6 per day. Many of these were single-digit small payments for a smoothie or lunch. Others were 5-figure payments made to our contractor during our major home renovation.
All of these financial decisions that we made during the entire year, both large and small, determined whether we were in a better financial situation at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the year (it was questionable after the home renovation).
Ultimately, it is a lifetime of daily financial decisions determines your ultimate financial destiny.
WHAT DECISIONS ARE YOU MAKING?
There’s no debate about whether small decisions matter. Money is a finite resource and every little bit counts. Some of the most common day-to-day money mistakes (some of which I’ve made myself) include:
- Choosing convenience over cost by eating out too often
- Choosing to spend your time watching Netflix instead of creating a budget (hey wait, I do both of these at once…they’re not mutually exclusive!)
- Choosing to put off saving each paycheck for retirement in order to buy the things you want today
- Choosing to watch YouTube videos instead of reading a few financial articles that explain the basics of personal finance (may I suggest starting with my completely free financial plan classes?)
- Choosing to buy more on credit rather than paying off the debt you already have
Big choices, of course, have just as much of an impact on your finances as the small ones. These include lifestyle choices such as
- who you marry
- whether you decide to have kids
- your career selection
- where you choose to live
In addition, directly financially related decisions such as the following also have an effect on your finances for decades. These include things like:
- buying a home and getting a mortgage
- buying a new or used car
- contributing to a Roth or Traditional IRA and HSA
- waiting to invest until you have more knowledge/time/money
Take a minute and think about the financial decisions that you’ve made recently and your current financial situation. What has led you to the point where you’re at today? If you’re financially stable, what decisions have helped you to get there? If you’re a financial wreck, what decisions have you made that have prevented you from being successful?
WHAT IS YOUR DESTINY?
I sincerely hope that you’ve made clear financial goals that match the dreams you have for your life. Your goals should be so much more than saving specific amounts of money, buying bigger and better things, and becoming rich. The key to financial goal-setting isn’t to start with money, but to start with what your purpose is in life. Is it going to require money along the way? Absolutely.
Google offers the following definition of destiny:
Who really has the “hidden” power for your future? I truly believe it is us individually. Our daily choices lead us to opportunities or lack of them.
Take a moment to think about your destiny. What is it that you want to happen in your future? What are the events that would lead you there? If you feel stuck in your current financial situation, you may need to change your daily actions that are preventing you from building the future that you want.
For me, I want to give back to others, ideally in a big way that would require a significant amount of time and money. To reach my destiny, I would need to be financially independent so that I could spend my time in charitable pursuits instead of working full-time until I’m old. This requires sacrifices in my spending today, so I can have that money for the future instead.
LINKING DECISIONS & DESTINY
It can be incredibly difficult sometimes to keep your perspective when you’re saving for long-term goals. Some of your dreams can seem so far away (either far in the future or in the amount of money you need to get you there!).
This printable card fits in your wallet next to your credit cards or with your cash and reminds you of your goal each time you spend money (click to download).
The older I get the more I see how daily decisions have an effect on one’s destination and the path they take to get there. I see this in my own life and in the lives of others around me. A person that lives a lifetime of decisions that lead them to living paycheck-to-paycheck will transition into living Social Security check-to-check later in life. The truly wealthy know the value of saving even small amounts daily to be able to achieve financial freedom and build their own destinies.
A person that lives a lifetime of decisions that lead them to living paycheck-to-paycheck will transition into living Social Security check-to-check later in life. The truly wealthy know the value of saving even small amounts daily to be able to achieve financial freedom and build their own destinies.
What are some daily decisions that you make that will determine your destiny?
I personally live a very frugal life. I plow all of my savings into my business. I believe that only through frugal spending a strong work ethic can one build a very successful business. Work hard now, enjoy the results later.
I was lucky that my parents taught me the value of hard work – it’s hard to keep that long-term perspective when you don’t feel like doing the work now. Thanks for stopping by!
I think hard work is difficult when things aren’t going as planned. It’s easy to work hard when you’re on the right track because you see hope and a bright future. But when you don’t see hope – that’s when life tests one’s resolve.
That’s so true. It’s hard even when you have a good long-term perspective but feel like you’re being knocked down.
Your post is very much in line with the thoughts in the book, The Slight Edge – one of my personal favorites. Simple daily decisions go a long way in determining if you are successful or not.
For me, exercise, self-development, and side hustling are important to me in 2017. I get at least 15 minutes of exercise a day, I’m reading 75 books in 2017 to handle the self-development component (am through 19), and I’m working a few hours on my blog before and after work to ensure growth there!
Thanks for sharing Kathryn – have a good weekend!
I’ll have to check out that book. It sounds like something I’d like! 😉
I love that all the things you shared are things that you do every day. I’m working on those same things as well. Success comes to those that do the work!
You bring up an excellent point that money is a finite source, once it has been spent we can never get it back. I like to keep this in mind especially when I want to make impulse purchases – I could spend the money and never see it again or invest it now and have it work for me the rest of my life. When I look at it this way, the choice suddenly becomes easy 🙂
I seem to need something really specific to keep me from impulse purchases, something like a trip I really want in the future or to fund at least half my kids college expenses. Then like you said, the choice seems obvious.
I wrote a post once on achieving financial flexibility. It’s not quite the same as financial independence or freedom, but it gives you more CHOICES!
I absolutely love that: financial flexibility. That’s all I really want, choices :).
I think all the time about how what I eat will affect my destiny, how I work out and mostly importantly pushing through and enduring various trials in my life will affect my destiny. It’s not always easy to do these things but I know if I want to live a long and productive life with no regrets that I will need to do these things 🙂
I recently had an eye-opening experience that has really been the turning point for eating healthier and exercising more. When I don’t feel like doing it, I think of what I want my life to be like when I’m “old” and it gives me that push to work harder. No regrets for us 🙂
I love everything about this post, Kathryn! Each and every day, our decisions shape our destiny. I think it was Tony Robbins that also said doing nothing is still a decision.
I sometimes dread cooking – but I do it anyway. And when I do, I think about the money I saved over getting take out and how it’s getting us one step closer to FI. It’s the same thing with exercise – I don’t always want to do it, but I know it will keep me healthy and functioning at a higher level. You’re right – it’s that purpose that drives the decisions to create our destiny. 🙂
Oh the cooking, I’m with you there! I feel like I’ve mastered a lot of the “big” things, but it’s those small things that really add up for me and I need to be reminded of often.
Definitely an interesting way to look at life! While I don’t think our decisions are the sole determiner of our destiny, they definitely do carry a strong impact. And the last thing anyone should do is use their circumstances as an excuse to not make positive decisions and take positive action. Once you eliminate excuses, it’s shocking what you can accomplish. Perhaps not the moon, but pretty dang close!
I like how you brought up excuses-I coincidentally started reading The Magnolia Story (about Chip and Joanna Gaines) and it was so in line with the things I was already thinking about when finishing up this post. Basically just what you said: stop making excuses, keep going and you’ll be able to accomplish anything.
I couldn’t agree more. The capacity to become financially independent starts with the decisions you make and how you get there. It’s up to you to save an extra $10 or $10,000 – it really is. But only if you make it happen. I’ve very glad to have found so much inspiration in the PF community and realize that every dollar we save is one step closer to reaching our destination.
The personal finance community is amazing. It’s been the start of where I’ve been able to see that changing your personal financial situation changes your entire life, every aspect of it. Knowing that destination is key!
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