10 Healthy Financial Habits To Become WealthWise
Good habits are tricky, and they take a while to stick - ask anyone who has ever started a diet, exercise program or journal. The more we automate good habits and make them fun, the easier they align with your daily regimen.
Take the Financial Habit Assessment to get clarity on where you are right now with these top 10 financial habits.
Financial Habit Assessment
Organization is the foundation for your healthy habits ahead.
Rate your current organization system for your financial documents:
1 = No system in sight!
5 = I know where things are. . .in that big pile of papers.
10 = I’m super organized.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 1:
Organize your financial information and records - this includes paper & electronic files.
Devise a plan on what to keep and what to toss – Keep fundamentals such as birth certificates, tax returns, deeds, titles, pay-stubs, and investment statements.
Don’t just pile, FILE.
Keep the most up to date copy of your information (insurance policy, bills, etc).
Consider going electronic and scanning your documents to a secure cloud provider. Save a tree, save space.
Organizing will seem the like the most Herculean task ever—we suggest that you carve out three hours, light candles, bring in beautiful soothing music and promise yourself a treat right afterwards (Wine? Soaking bath?)
2. PAY YOURSELF FIRST
Automate savings and investing to make it seamless. Make sure you are putting a minimum amount toward a savings account EACH MONTH as if you were paying a credit card.
Rate your current “pay yourself first” system:
1 = Not paying myself first
5 = Manually deposit part of my pay into savings and/or investments
10 = Automatic deposits are going to my savings and/or investments
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 2:
Contact your bank and set up automatic transfer from your checking to your savings every pay period, alternatively you may be able to ask your employer to have a portion of your pay direct deposited into your savings account.
Set your online bank account to automatically send an amount of money to your investment account each month. Bypasses you altogether!
Saving money is always easier with a big beautiful goal in mind—what are three of your goals? Be super-specific and very clear. If it’s a vacation you're imagining, where is it and what will you be doing? What will the vacation make you FEEL like?
3. CONTROL YOURSELF
Make no mistake; you are a slave to the debt you create. Stop relying on credit and live within your means.
Rate your current level of control on your spending:
1 = I buy things when I want them. Always pay with credit cards
5 = I overspend even with a budget. Mostly pay with credit cards.
10 = Controlled spending is a consistent habit. Usually pay with cash.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 3:
Only purchase with cash or debit card. Budget a certain amount and once it’s gone, that’s it!
Remove your credit card information from your online shopping profiles; make it harder to “click”.
Freeze your credit cards – LITERALLY put them in the freezer.
Remove yourself from the “daily deal” distribution lists/emails.
Bring food to work, have coffee at home (when we did the math, this equates to over $100 a week!).
Limit your exposure to malls or other known sources of temptation.
4. CREATE A BUDGET AND TRACK IT
Budgeting can often be a stressful thing to think about. To many of us, even the language of money – the words themselves -- can bring up a feeling dread.
Rate your current budget and tracking system:
1 = What budget? I always have too much month at the end of my money.
5 = I’m clear on most of my expenses but still overspend.
10 = My budget inspires me to stay focused on creating my Empire.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 4:
The important points of budgeting are: Create a budget, set goals, and track spending.
NOTICE what comes up for you when you’re doing your bills, or putting together your budget or thinking about money. Write down your feelings, notice everything.
Use a budget worksheet or app to categorize your expenses and identify how you’re spending.
5. THE BIG PICTURE
When we are working on the nitty gritty details of our lives—the budgeting, the scheduling, the shopping, the lunches – it is easy to forget about the Big Picture and our view from the Castle.
Rate your current satisfaction with your big picture goals:
1 = Never even considered my goals.
5 = I have goals but no clarity on how to bring them to life.
10 = Creating my Empire one goal at a time. . .and it’s working!
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 5:
Pay yourself and your dreams first!
Build a Vision Board and hang it where you’ll see it most of the day. Meditate on what your feelings will be once you’ve achieved each goal on your way to your Empire.
What are your goals for the quarter, the year, or the next five years?
Break down that goal into bite sized pieces and make sure you are tracking your progress. For example, if your goal is to buy a house, how much do you need for a down payment? If you need $50K, where is that coming from— can you save $2000 a month for the next 25 months?
6. ELIMINATE DEBT
Debt keeps you from creating your dreams because it requires a constant focus on the past. To create your Empire you need to focus your attention on your future.
Rate your current debt elimination system:
1 = No plan in place even with growing debts.
5 = Usually pay a little more than the minimum due.
10 = Paying down debt with specific plan and adding to my savings. Every little bit helps!
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 6:
Pay down debt on time – avoid needless late fees, pay more than the minimums.
We suggest you DO NOT forego savings while paying down debt.
Your debt hamster-wheel keeps you from the dreams you visualized when looking out from your castle balcony in the guided meditation! (If you haven’t listened to our guided meditation go do that now!)
Not all debt is bad debt—in fact, few of us can pay for a home or an education outright. Mortgages and Student Loan debt are generally considered “good debt.”
GOOD RULE OF THUMB: If your total debt payments are no more than 35% of your gross annual salary, your debt load is manageable.
7. ANALYZE IT
Let’s not set it and forget it. As our jobs, salaries and lifestyles change so should our level of savings and debt. Savings up, debt down.
Rate your current system for analyzing your finances:
1 = My system is in my head: I have money = good. I don’t have money = bad.
5 = I review annually but I never understand what I’m looking at.
10 = Regularly analyze and always celebrate after.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 7:
Things constantly change.
Analyze savings and debt on a regular basis – Always be in the know.
Review your budget at least 2 times a year, preferably quarterly, to make sure you are saving more than you are spending. Budgeting doesn’t have to feel like deprivation. Remember that by removing any frivolous spending you are making space for things you absolutely love.
Remember to treat yourself after you’ve completed your budgets analyzing sessions!
8. REVIEW WHAT "THEY" ARE SAYING ABOUT YOU
Although our credit score is just a number and does NOT define us, we should know where we stand.
Rate your current system reviewing your credit:
1 = Ignorance is bliss! I’m scared to know/I don’t know how.
5 = Once a year I check my credit score.
10 = I check my credit score every 4 months.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 8:
Check your credit report twice a year – it’s free – www.annualcreditreport.com or www.CreditKarma.com
Many of us get nervous and don’t want to even see what our credit report says—don’t buy into that shame and fear! Remember, keeping yourself ignorant helps no one.
Your credit score can affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests and even job applications. You can also stop identity theft early! Federal law requires that all three of the credit bureaus provide a free report annually. Annualcreditreport.com gives you access to all 3 (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) of your reports. We suggest you check each one – space them out and check one every 4 months.
9. OPEN YOUR MAIL (THAT INCLUDES EMAIL)
Out of sight is not out of mind. Throwing it in that junk drawer doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!
Rate your current system awareness for financial notifications:
1 = Avoidance is my strategy.
5 = I review notices once a month (sometimes I miss a month).
10 = I’m on it! I’m always willing to learn information about my finances.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 9:
Review your bills and statements as you get them – check for any errors. Banks and creditors make mistakes. They’ll also charge you for whatever they can get away with---check your medical bills, check your statements, and look for unusual activity. You may want to automate as much of this as possible and set up alerts.
10. SIDE ACCOUNTS
Creating an investment strategy that has a positive impact with a good long term rate of return is exactly what will help build your Empire.
Rate your current status on your investment strategy:
1 = Nothing set up. Never even thought about it.
5 = I have it but don’t understand it. Someone else in my family does this investment stuff.
10 = I have an investment portfolio that supports my future AND aligns with my passions and beliefs.
WealthWise Inspired Action Step 10:
Save for your future; set up a brokerage account and a special savings account and send a set amount each month that auto invests in three to five long term investment ideas.
What are the long term trends you believe in? The baby boomers are retiring at record rates, medicine is becoming individualized rather than one size fits all and the “internet of things” is increasing the need for bandwidth and big data.
If you aren’t experiencing some social or short term benefit when making an investment, it becomes harder to maintain consistency over time.
Investing with an impact to your life and your world and not simply a rate of return is one part of the key to sticking to your plan. Another is social. When we make an effort to come together to talk about issues, we educate, empower and build confidence.
Where are you right now?
Add up your total score to find out:
Score of 10-49
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Score of 49-79
You have a great start on your financial journey. Now let’s build a trusted network of experts to help you create your Empire.
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Score of 80-100
You’re doing all the right things for your financial success...so why does it feel disconnected from your passions and desires?
The financial industry is failing those who desire an authentic and personal approach to their personal and business finances.
Our WealthDesign services allow you to show up in the world on your terms to achieve your goals because we know your money can change the world.
Healthy habits may not happen overnight, but we want PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.
DIVINE ASSET MANAGEMENT LLC
39 Broadway, 36th Floor, NY, NY 10006
tel 212 344 5867 fax 212 509 5867
Dani Hughes & Valerie Sanchez
Co-Creators of Divine WealthWise Exchange