February: Put Some OOMPH in Your Plan
Last month was all about taking the first – and most important step; developing a financial plan. The focus was on the “what” of your financial plan, using my 3 Ms of FI as a guide: Maximize Cashflow, Minimize Debt, and Multiply Your Money.
However, your financial plan isn’t complete if you don’t have the “how” to accompany your “what.”
A financial plan doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. In fact, the simpler, the better! Here is my financial plan from 2004:
Not bad, but needs more oomph. I’m missing the “how” to accomplish my goals.
This month, the focus is on adding some oomph to your plan. How will you achieve your goals? Does your plan get you there? If it doesn’t, you need to revisit the plan.
As I’ve grown, my financial plans have evolved. Here’s one from 2012 (the scribble is thanks to my then toddler!):
I’ve bolstered it, and given it more oomph by including “how” statements for each financial goal. It’s not perfect, but what’s important is that each “how” statement shows a clear path to achieving my goal.
Here are some “hows” to consider for your financial plan. These are suggestions; you must make your plan work for you!
Pick 2 to 3 spending items to eliminate completely. For example, when I was first starting out on my FI journey, I completely eliminated cable. That’s sort of a “normal” thing to do these days, but in 2007 it was a big deal. I had 3 over the air channels to watch; it was painful at first, but we got used to it.
Pick 2 or 3 items to cutback spending on. You’ve already created your budget, and now it’s time to start trimming the fat.
Allocate your extra cashflow right away. If you don’t, you risk wasting it on non essentials.
Begin by not taking on new debt. Some of the ways that I’ve done this in the past is to spend cash only. Once it’s gone, I’m done. Another strategy is to leave the cards (even debit cards) at home. You will have to be the judge on whether to carry one for emergencies. You know yourself best!
Give yourself a firm timeline for when you will payoff a debt and track it religiously. Be specific about how much you will put towards the debt every month. For example, “I will payoff my XYZ credit card by December 31, 2018. I will do this by paying $45 every month.”
Multiply Your Money
Set a target to put your money where it will work for you. Identify the different ways you can generate income or multiply your money, and state how you will utilize them. For example, one of my “hows” years ago was opening and funding an IRA. Another one was saving for a down payment on an investment property.
Capitalize on freebies; they will help your money multiply faster! For example, even though you’re unable to max retirement contributions, contribute up to the max matching that your employer offers.
Set a target for where you want to be by the end of the year. For example, “by the end of 2018, I will have contributed $1200 to my investment account by contributiong $100/month.”