To thrive or just survive – you choose
Mankind has defined itself through its ability to survive. In fact, we admire survivors and their capability to overcome challenges.
Those who survive only get by. Those who thrive get ahead. Survivors are associated with those who have barely enough. Those who thrive are associated with abundance.
The concept of financially surviving is known to all Bahamians, as we often hear numerous people in various situations responding to the question, “how are you doing?” The favorite answer is, “surviving”.
Nobody willingly chooses to simply financially survive – scraping by with just enough to meet expenses or worse, finding themselves falling deeper and deeper in debt. If given the choice, naturally, we all would choose to thrive financially.
Of course, this choice is already ours to make. We appreciate that we are all limited by finite realities of our set salaries at anytime; however, the choice to thrive is within everyone’s reach. While the advice is simple in presentation, the choice to thrive is more difficult in its implementation; requiring small sacrifices now and a disciplined approach to follow a planned path to future success.
Yet, how do we make the shift from financially surviving to financially thriving? It is this transition that holds the important step for most people because of the mental commitment required to overcome our cultural attitudes towards complacency. Change your approach; you will change your financial outcome.
How to thrive
The “how” begins with seeking the necessary information and assistance to determine your present circumstance, developing realistic financial goals and implementing a plan to achieve them.
Reliable sources for financial information and investment knowledge are readily available. Expert professional advice, financial books, articles, web sites and magazines are all examples of sources of information.
Familiarize yourself with people who are already “thrivers”. Learn from their first-hand experiences and mimic positive financial habits.
Evaluate your own skills and decide what areas you need to grow in. By improving your skills, education and productivity you are making an investment in yourself, ultimately increasing your value as a worker.
Enhancing your value this way can lead to an eventual pay increase or to a better paying job.
Making the choice to thrive and making the small sacrifices over the long-term, you can guide your financial goals through hardships to a better level. Understand this, people who have a methodical discipline and order almost always financially thrive.
Road to success
• BUDGET YOURSELF – Begin with this fundamental principle. Know your current circumstance and control your expenses so they allow you to save consistently.
• PAY BILLS ON TIME – Pay your bills and honor your financial commitments. This garners respect, improving your creditability, which may open unlikely doors.
• REDUCE OR ELIMINATE DEBT – Make a concerted effort to pay down debt consistently, paying down debt with the highest rates first (typically credit cards).
• OWN YOUR PRESENT – Life in its simplest form consists of your past, your present, and your future. Learn from your past so you can structure your present to guide your future.
• BE A SKEPTIC – Challenge advice and ask questions so you can thoroughly analyze and choose investments that best meet your own situation.
• PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE – If you begin working at age 20 and retire at age 65, you spend approximately 40 years of your life working. This means 40 years worth of paychecks/wages pass through your hands. Use time as well as the concept of the multiplier effect to your advantage. Save $200 every month for 40 years in, for example, a CFAL Bond Fund earning approximately six percent; your future value projection would be a little over $398,000, which could help towards a comfortable retirement or assisting in putting your child through college. Setting aside a little bit consistently over time is easier and can amount to a considerable sum. Let your assets work for you.
• BE HONEST – Be honest with yourself about your savings pattern, spending pattern, and what you may need to adjust to accomplish your goals. Set realistic goals, consistently monitor and re-evaluate your progress.
Often people simply fall short of their goals because they neglect to follow these steps. They feel that it may be easier to “not do” something than it is “to do” something. Not doing is an action and that is the choice to fail. None of us choose to fail but we can fail to choose. The decision is yours.
CFAL is a sister company of The Nassau Guardian under the AF Holdings Ltd. umbrella. CFAL provides investment management, research, brokerage and pension services. For comments, please contact CFAL at: [email protected]