Getting your finances in order takes time, and it can be frustrating when you're at the beginning stages. Let's say you want to get out of debt, for example, but it's taking forever and you're ready to start investing. As Colin Ashby of Rebel With a Plan reminds us, you don't have to do everything at once.
Photo by Tim Gouw
Ashby explains his own experience with learning to get his finances in order. He started investing but then found himself obsessively checking his accounts, focused on his net worth. He writes (emphasis ours):
I started to question and micro-manage everything.
- Why is the rate of return so low on this?!
- Should I sell it off?
- Maybe I should invest in some new funds. *obsessively researches for the next half hour* Let's see if I can save a few bucks doing it this way vs. the other way.
Personal finance, to me at least, is about keeping your eyes up, focusing on the things right in front of you, fixing them, and moving on to the next. Doing small actions one at a time towards bigger goals...These money "shoulds" feel immediately necessary when you read about them. I should build up a 10k, 15k, 20k, etc emergency fund, I should be checking my brokerage account a lot, I should be doing this, that, and so on. Sometimes we like to focus on way too many things when getting started with just one is the better case.
I did this when I started saving, too. I would obsessively refresh my accounts to see how much more my funds had grown, even if it was just a couple of bucks. I became obsessed with my budget and my finances.
The thing is, it's great to get your money in order, but money should be a tool, not a goal. This isn't to say you shouldn't learn about your next step - financial literacy is important! You just want to focus on one step at a time so you can keep moving forward. Start with one aspect of your financial life and don't get discouraged if you don't fix things overnight - it's an ongoing process and you learn a lot as you go. Check out the full post for more insight.
Don't Look Down [Rebel With a Plan]