Written by Kimberly Kesterke
Every single one of us has taken a look at our finances and said to ourselves, “what the $@!! How am I working SO hard and feel SO strapped each and every month? According to Bankrate.com, 40% of Americans do not follow a budget (financial plan). Truthfully, I am working very diligently each and every day to be one of the 60% of people who can follow it to a T. But until then, I have found a truly valuable step in developing a financial plan, which many people overlook. That step is -Identifying what YOU HAVE.Hold on, don’t roll your eyes on this. I realize that all of you have looked at income coming in, expenses going out, etc. Bear with me on this and take some time to answer the following questions:
What is your total balance in your Savings account? ( Or multiple savings accounts)
What is your total balance in your Checking account?
Cash at home?
Loose Change (yes, this still counts as money)?
A PayPal Account?
Passes or Unredeemed Groupons, or LivingSocial Deals?
Items you are proud of (add their value; for example, for me, one item is my $500.00 Gucci Bag I bought off eBay- I LOVE that bag and even though it is not worth what I originally paid on paper 4 years ago, it adds much more than $500.00 to my life happiness. Consider items you own that would fall into this category as something you HAVE, are PROUD of, and ADD VALUE!!)?
See? You may be surprised that you have much more than you think you do. This also does not include your appreciating assets such as your mortgage or other properties that you may own.
The value of this exercise is that before you sit down to look at your net worth, or develop your financial plan, it is great to start identifying what you HAVE. It gives you an opportunity to show gratitude for what you have already created. I always loved the quote, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got”. It certainly applies to this fundamental practice. Identifying and appreciating what you have not only shifts your mindset away from lack, but it starts your financial process on a positive. Who would want to just stare at a student loan balance, credit card debt and other liabilities right out of the gate? No wonder most people throw up their hands and walk away from creating a sound financial plan. It is seriously intimidating to only stare at what is lacking before understanding what is good about your situation. Why not switch it around, thank your creative mind for what it has already been able to create and visualize where you want that number to be in 3 months, 6 months or even 1 year from now? Showing appreciation for what you HAVE will allow you to be in a stronger position to face your liabilities.
What are your thoughts? What is your process in creating an overall financial plan?