THREE M’S THAT CAN CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT YOUR MONEY FOREVER.
Budget your money, Budget your money, Save, Save, Save we are told, but that’s only a portion of the solution to what so many people are feeling when it comes to feeling the financial crunch.
Financial affairs should always be part of your daily routine however just because you use a budget doesn’t mean you will become successful at running it. It takes far more work than just budgeting to achieve your financial goals. In fact it takes a hell of a lot of work outside of the spreadsheet and whether your committed or not will show in the numbers.
Let’s talk about the numbers for a moment especially since November is Financial Literacy Month across the globe. Numbers aren’t the only way you’re going to become rich. Come on now we all want to have money in the bank and being rich to you might mean you are debt free or have more than $100 in the bank.
Whatever the case may be always remember that those numbers didn’t become what they are magically. They had to come from somewhere, somehow and most likely that person was you or combined efforts with partner. Your money management success or failure depends on critical thinking and grasping the basics of if you can’t afford it you can’t afford it. No excuses.
What is money management?
Money management is more than just how you manage your money it’s about how you view financial independence and apply reasonable efforts to reach such a state where you are no longer worrying about when your pay will be deposited in the bank. It’s freedom that comes from paying close attention to the money you net and the money you spend.
Just the other day we got a phone call from a relative whom we sent a $50 cheque to for her birthday. She does not have any money saved in the bank and does not work as she’s ill. I never gave much thought to how that money may have improved her life even if for a moment because she can buy extra groceries, pay a bill or save it for a rainy day, but it did. Not only did she call to thank us for the gift of money she said over and over how much she really liked it. That touched us but it also reiterates that riches to one is not the same as riches to another.
Although money management may not have worked in her favour for various reasons over the years she now values how important even a $50 note is. I keep replaying that phone call over in my head and pray that more people are listening to me speak through this blog and from the lives of people who have touched my heart because of the way they struggle but want to be set free from financial stress.
It never really hits home until it happens to you, it has happened to you or you are dedicated to not making it happen to you. Whichever you choose never tell yourself that you aren’t worth it because once you lose your focus it’s so hard to get back up again. Fall once you’ll feel it, Fall twice you’ll feel it even more, Fall three times and nothing else will matter because there’s nothing left to fall on.
You can only exhaust so many avenues before you throw your hands up in the air. Try not to meet face to face with that dead-end road by treating money management as a game of life. You screw it up and you’re out but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back in the game. It only means you have to start the game over and as you get older you don’t want to keep replaying from the start if you know what I mean.
So what if you fail at money management?
That means you need to try harder. That means you need to revisit your goals. That means you need to find other ways to make your finances work for you outside of just looking at the numbers. It takes Money, Management and Motivation to keep focused on financial freedom. I call these the 3 M’s of financial survival because without them we wouldn’t be debt free, mortgage free and nearing a million dollar net worth.
A million bucks isn’t much money these days but that number wasn’t one of our main goals when starting our money management journey using a budget. It was more than that. It was having control of the way our life was going to be ruled by numbers and not people. Life can always take unexpected turns and although it may or may not happen we need to keep that risk at the front and back of our minds but don’t let it consume you.
Mrs. CBB and I have done much searching over the years to find what works for us and today I want to share a few of our main focuses of money management that we continue to master because we want to retire early and enjoy our final days on earth without struggle. We want to live our life without financial worry and we want our son to learn how money can impact people and how he has to work for his money just like everyone else.
Focus On Our Self-Worth
Before you can do anything with your financial well-being you have to believe in yourself. If it’s been a while since you’ve done some soul-searching take some time for yourself to think about your life. This may be by taking a walk or daily meditation to help you understand areas of your life that you’d like to improve whether it be your happiness, career, love life or your overall health.
Every night we either go for a walk as a family or I go for a run and do things where we can focus on our own wants, desires and well-being state of mind. Meditation is part of our day whether it’s 3 minutes or 20 minutes listening to a soft music on You Tube meant for meditation. Be alone sometimes because you learn more about yourself rather than in a room of people where you can’t hear yourself think.
Whatever it is that is important to you but not quite bursting at the seams with success find it by finding yourself and believing in your self-worth. It’s amazing how much your net worth will increase once your self-worth is found. Why? Because you want to reach for the stars and you don’t let anyone or anything stop you.
Focus On Spending Less Than We Earn
I’m pretty certain that without this mindset even if we didn’t budget we’d be financially bust. It’s just not reasonable to think that you can start with x amount of dollars and guess your way through money management. Even if you paper and pencil your money, I mean the bare basics you must always spend less than you earn. Continue to spend more and you’ll be in that place where you better hope you know how to climb and fast.
Although we do budget and focus on spending less than we earn we continue to work on ways we can improve on our system of saving. This may be focusing on new meals, cheaper ways to buy things we need or holding off until we save up the money and can afford to spend it.
Focus On Increasing Our Income
My wife stays home with our son which means I’m the bread-winner of the family. Over the past 3 years I’ve worked hard to increase my income by working at two different careers but in the same field. Although the hours are tight the money is great but that’s not the reason I do it. I want to move from one career to the next so I’m working to get ahead and just like money management it takes effort and determination, lots of it.
Before I started working my second job we used to participate in focus groups, online studies and even had house mates stay with us a month at a time so they could study English before returning to their homeland. The money was outstanding and it was tax-free so we were doing the government a favour.
Although your income streams may not last forever the extra cash is always nice. The other route you could take is to ask your boss for a raise. Whatever you choose to do in order to increase your income make sure you do it with goals in mind whether long-term or not.
Focus On Retirement and Increasing Our Investment Returns
Our investments have become an even bigger focus of ours since we paid off our mortgage in 2014. The past year we’ve been piling money into our tax-free savings accounts and catching up with my registered retirement savings plan. I had more than enough banked in numbers to catch up on and by the end of 2016 I shall be caught up and ready to move forward with new goals.
I plan to drop $40,000 into my Tax free savings account once my RRSP is topped up and on target. Other than that we will start to look at other investment opportunities with our financial advisor such as non-registered accounts. In the past we considered buying a rental home with our savings but have since put that on hold.
Maximizing on your retirement savings and learning as much as we can about how to invest and get the best returns has been a focus of ours and will be ongoing. I would love to retire early so I can spend the rest of our years exploring Canada and showing the world to our son. This might just become reality although I know that my work is never done especially since I love what I do and that people rely on me.
No one knows what the future will hold but until then I want to make sure we’re prepping for it now while we’re healthy.
Focus On Minimalist Lifestyle
When we bought our house we moved in with clothes and an air mattress, dining room table and that’s about it. Over the years we’ve furnished our house buying second-hand only stuff. It’s rare that we buy brand new unless it’s something we won’t buy used.
Now that our house is decorated on the dime we know how important it will be to continue living a minimalist lifestyle so we don’t end up with too much stuff. We’ve been selling items as we go along purging stuff we no longer need and even then it can be tough going especially if memories are attached to things and stuff.
The next time you go to buy something always ask yourself if you can afford it and need it. You might be surprised to know that you can get a few more years out of your old couch or you don’t really need to match your kitchen-aid mixer to your stainless steel appliances.
Focus On Our Family
Family time is VERY important to us and although time is tight for us right now since I’m working so much we still try to fit it in. I used to run and workout every day and although I still do there are times where I have to cut it short to keep a balanced lifestyle. Too often we spend more time doing things that don’t add value to our lives by not keeping productive and then say we didn’t have time, I was too tired.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to get off the couch, get outside, keep moving and try new things. This is how our family operates and it works for us. You know yourself and what your limitations are but go back to the first focus of the six and keep reminding yourself how important self-worth is and how you can use that to improve on the way you look at life and grasp those people who mean the world to you.
When you’re happy, motivated and ready to take on the world you’ll start to see your finances go up and you’ll know you’re doing something right. Money management motivators are put in place for YOU by YOU.
What’s your strategy going to be?
What are some of your money management focuses that keep you motivated to reach financial independence?
Our Net Worth 2016
RESP Contribution 2016: $208.33 a month.
Changes to our Net Worth in October
Well, it was a disappointing month to be honest. We took a hit on the investments, mainly because we transferred a lot of them to reorganise the portfolio and change some under-performing investments for ones with more potential.
We’ve done this shuffle of investments before and have always seen the benefits in the following months. As with all investments, there’s an element of risk. We will be taking advantage of the tax-free investments in the very near future by maxing out the TSFA’s for myself. Mrs CBB has already maxed hers out.
The only reason we actually made headway in the Net Worth was because of income. Working two jobs has it’s benefits as well as it’s drawbacks. Bear in mind we’ve actually done reasonably well in our investments over the past 12 months. We’ve got just shy of 10% from our investments.
This means that if we can keep that growth rate going, we should be able to accrue enough investments where it’s returns are actually going to run themselves and actually provide another income. We’re getting there, it’ll just take time.
Understanding Net Worth
What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?
Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.
We credit the growth of our net worth due to patience, perseverance, using a monthly budget and not giving up. Your numbers may go up and down but don’t let the numbers scare you rather understand why and move on.
If you would like to use our budget I offer a FREE downloadable budget which I created and that you can use at home just like we do. I don’t charge for it because I want you to save money not spend more!
There are tonnes of other free printable lists offered at Canadian Budget Binder to help you achieve some of those financial goals and build your net worth. Now determine just how much net worth you actually have and go from there.
Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Determining Net Worth
Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances which means you need to do your homework. Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.
Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities
Calculate net worth
Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?
Now you can stop asking yourself the question, how do you find out your net worth? Why? It’s easy to determine. We like to calculate our net worth every month so we know if we are still on track. Some people calculate it yearly or quarterly. It’s really up to you and how informed you want to stay when it comes to your financial health.
Net Worth is essentially an estimate and not everyone uses the same type of figures. Some people don’t include vehicles like we do or they may leave out the assets inside the home like we have. It depends on what you want to calculate or what you can sell today and make money on.
Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)
Why you should set financial goals
Setting goals are the only way we work towards achieving what we want to get done as a couple around the house and in our financial life. I know that without them we would be flying by the seat of our pants which wouldn’t work for us.
I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you. Yes, my wife refers to the list when she asks what I plan to do next. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for me or not.
In the graphical representation above, I have used excel to provide a trend line prediction based on the past years monthly net worth figures.
Using figures from our actual net worth gains over the past 12 months (the solid blue line) it has suggested that by the end of this year (2016) we should be around $900,000.00. This can change over the course of the year and is only a prediction based on known historical figures from our finances.
According to the chart, we should hit the million mark in August 2017.
This is nice to know but anything can happen over the next year. Hopefully with some careful planning we can achieve this goal and go beyond it.
Do you set goals for the year?
Our financial numbers
When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.
We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.
Different financial paths
Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.
Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, suffered job loss, fell ill or was injured on the job etc. but you can’t let that stop you from achieving your financial goals.
Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.
Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Kardashians cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.
The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery. The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.
Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who have a negative attitude towards their own financial situation.
I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.
Net worth updates 2016
Below you can click the links to read past 2016 net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.
In the last year since October 2015 our net worth according to our figure has grown $118,653.76
October 2016 $863,522.76 – October 2015 $744,869.00 = +$118,653.76
- November/December 2015
- January 2016
- February 2016
- March 2016
- April 2016
- May 2016
- June 2016
- July 2016- Oops looks as if I missed this month.
- August 2016
- September 2016
That’s all for this months net worth update but please check in at the beginning of December 2016 to see how we made out in November 2016 and what has happened to our finances since.
Remember: “It’s Not About How Much Money You Make It’s How You Save It“
Check out our past actual Monthly Budget Updates to see how much money we earned and where the money went for the month.