Few days ago, I was talking to someone who was unhappy with his personal finances. Or let’s say he was… terribly unhappy. He was constantly blaming himself for all past mistakes and his unstable, unpredictable and weak personal financial situation.
But more importantly and sadly (in his own words), he had already screwed up his financial future too.
He had clearly given up. He had a mindset that he could do nothing about his situation now and all was lost.
And what was worse? He is only 39. Still quite young!
Many of you might feel that yes… he is already late now. After all, he is questioning his decisions only when he has been screwing up for almost a decade now.
But I see another 2 decades in front of him.
There is still a lot of time left to make amends. And I don’t mean that he should be jumping off one train that’s still moving and trying to get on another one. What I mean is that things can still be improved.
One should just be ready to do what is correct and what is necessary.
It is worth remembering that we overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.
So if you too are in a similar mindset, then please get out of it.
Just in case you forgot… what you have been doing till now has been valuable! You have been taking care of the family, saving what you could and what not….
All this is not easy. Please never forget that.
Things could have been a lot worse. Many of us forget that we have much to be grateful for. There is still a very large number of people who have little hope in life.
Of course people make mistakes and so you might have too.
But you can make course correction now.
If your finances are in a mess, the first thing that you have done right is that you have accepted that they are in a mess.
You now just need to take corrective action. Don’t worry if you have lost years or you feel you are too late.
Just do what is necessary.
Slowly and steadily, cover the risks (life and health) first. Once that is taken care off, build up some buffer (emergency fund). These two are very important and can take a lot of stress out of your financial life. Just like the strength of the balance sheet is important to drive good, sustainable future growth of companies, similar is the case with personal finances as well.
Once risks and buffers are taken care off, take the next step.
You don’t need to pick the best stock or the best mutual fund. You also don’t need to beat anyone. This is not a race. It’s just about you.
Identify few and important but your personal financial goals and invest towards them. Don’t go big bang. Start small and slow to have comfort. Gradually increase your investments and let them remain invested for as long (or till goal day is still a few years away). If you are confused or have doubts, talk to an investment advisor. They can help.
At times in investing, ‘DOING NOTHING’ is a decision in itself. But when you know that something needs to be done and you are still repenting your past and doing nothing, then that’s not right. You need to take responsibility for your money and life.
Go on…be bold.
Take control of your money. Understand it… And make it work for you.
Don’t worry about the past.
Till now, you did what you could. But from now on, do what you should.