Who do you want to be?
If I asked you, “Who do you want to be?” You might have a difficult time answering. Because it’s an enormous question. But if I asked you, “Do you want to be someone who’s good with money, consistently invests, and makes good financial decisions?” I’m confident you’d say, “Yes!”
My goal is to help you confidently say, “This is who I am with money. This is how I handle my finances.”
As a financial advisor, I’ve been helping people to answer this question for over 20 years. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Your financial identity
- Goals, values, and habits
- Is it possible?
- What’s required?
- It’s not a game of perfect
Let’s get started.
Your financial identity
You get to choose this. You can decide what you want your financial identity to be.
Most of us will never give this any thought. We’ll just accept the programming we picked up when we were kids. The reality of most of our core beliefs is we picked them up between birth and six years old. If you’ve got good ones, great! But if you’ve got negative beliefs, they will limit your ultimate potential.
If you think you’re bad with money, you’re going to be bad with money. But if you think you’re someone who’s good with it, you’re positioned to make that your reality. The first step is deciding what you want your financial identity to be. To help you, here is a list of common identities:
- I’m good with money
- I’m an investor
- I’m a savvy investor
- I’m someone people ask financial questions to
- I’m financially secure
- I’m rich
- I have financial peace of mind
- I’m affluent
- I’m a philanthropist
- I’m generous
- I’m charitable
- I’m a real estate investor
- I’m a crypto enthusiast
- I’m a stock investor
- I’m a trader
- I manage my own money
- I’m the CFO of my life
Write “I am _____” and fill in the blank with what you want your financial identity to be. The trick is to think of yourself that way, and to arrange your life so your actions are aligned with it. Doing so will position you for success in making it your reality. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Goals, values, and habits
Goals = What you want
Values = Who you are
Habits = What you do
It’s a human superpower to think about the future we want, make plans, and execute them. That’s what goal setting is. It’s a superpower.
I’ve known the power of goal setting for a long time. But it took me until I was 35 to actually sit down and write my goals. Now that I’ve been doing it for a good little while, I can tell you the dramatic difference it’s made in my life. With your financial life, I encourage you to mull over what you want out of your career, and your money. To help you get clarity in these important areas, you can access our Goals course for free.
Our values guide our decision making and our actions. They help us to decide how we allocate our most important resources of time, attention, energy, and money. Without clearly defined values, we’ll have a difficult time making consistent and aligned decisions. When we can align our goals and our values, we make decisions that serve our interests, and we become good stewards of our resources. To help you in your process, you can access our Values course for free as well.
Taking consistent action will cause habits. When those habits are aligned with our goals and values, that’s when we’ve optimized our lives. Can anyone do this?
Is it possible?
From 1886 to 1954, it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. That was true until it wasn’t. When Roger Bannister did it in 1954, everything changed. A little over a month later, it was done again. One year later, three runners did it in the same race. Today, over 1,600 people have done it.
As I get older, I’m getting better at learning from the mistakes of others. I’ve gotten much better at learning from the successes of others. Like those 1,600 + people who have run a four-minute mile, once we know something’s possible, we can do it ourselves.
Whatever you want for yourself, you need to find someone who’s done it, or is doing it. I refer to these people as “expanders.” They’re someone who expands your perception of what’s possible.
In order for someone to be an expander for you, you need to find someone doing something that you identify with. Someone that makes you think, “If that person can do it, so can I.” For me, Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods are not good examples. My knowledge of them and their accomplishments does not make me think I can become an Olympic gold medalist, nor the Masters’ Champion.
Better examples of expanders for me are entrepreneur Mark Cuban, personal finance expert Suze Orman, and podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan. When I look at those people, it helps me realize it’s possible to do extraordinary and immensely impactful things.
For figuring out who you want to be with money, find expanders who have what you want, or are doing what you want to be doing.
One final thought on expanders; you’re not comparing yourself to these people. You’re not measuring yourself against them. Rather, you’re showing and telling your brain what you want is possible.
Once you’ve decided on your financial identity, and you’ve clarified your goals and values, it’s time to put them to work and form beneficial habits.
In order to get what you want, you need to align your decision making and behaviors with your goals and values. You need to prioritize and make good choices.
How does someone who’s good with money act? That person manages their cash flow, maintains a budget, saves and invests consistently, thinks about and researching financial decisions, and makes the sacrifices. What will you do?
It’s not a game of perfect
Part of the human condition is falling short. But another part is picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and trying again.
When we slip up, and fall short of our identity, we don’t give up on it. We give ourselves grace and we get back on track. As you’re working to become the person you want to be, and to live your financial identity, you’re going to make mistakes. When you do, learn from your experiences and continue pursuing your goals and living your values.
You’re someone who’s capable of having everything you want. You can have the financial life you desire. To begin, begin.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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