In football, the best coaches and coordinators with the sharpest playbook and most advanced plays won’t win games if their team can’t execute the plays. Taking care of your finances and building wealth are similar. A plethora of free knowledge is available from the experts regarding building wealth and achieving success, but few have the willpower and discipline to do what it takes.
But the good news is that willpower is a skill, not some genetic trait. There are ways to train your mind and learn from the best to climb your way to the top.
Finance is a Mental Game
Whether you’re building your first savings account, paying off credit cards or building a successful business, finances are almost always a mental game. Think of financial success in relation to diet and exercise — you can read every blog, hire every trainer and take every supplement — but unless you can actually execute, there won’t be any results.
Take something as simple as credit card debt. The math tells you to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, but our brains aren’t always that logical. Paying off debt, like all good habits, gets better with momentum.
That’s why the Snowball Effect, where you pay down the card with the smallest balance first, is the preferred method by financial experts like Dave Ramsey. By knocking out the smallest balance first, you’re more inclined to pay aggressively as you see progress (even if another card has a higher interest rate).
There is a Path, But Not Just One
The path to success isn’t a highway as much as a trip across New York City. The experts can tell you the best roads to take, but there isn’t one definitive way that everyone agrees is best. Arm yourself with as much information as possible and read what the experts have to say. Dave Ramsey, mentioned above, has a no-nonsense approach to debt relief and using credit as a last resort to buy anything short of a mortgage. Tim Ferriss is a self-made human guinea pig who has dabbled in every corner of business and writes about his views on the “New Rich” and achieving wealth in the 21st century.
Blogs like Lifehacker.com routinely feature authors, investors and entrepreneurs who know the ropes and share their financial success tips.
Use the Tools Available
Besides expert advice, the web has endless tools — many of them free — to help you manage your money and make good financial decisions:
- Mint: It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or a college student, Mint is the best free tool to manage your accountsand track your spending. On one secure platform, you can see updates on your credit cards, bank accounts, loans and investments.
- Personal Capital: This is the grown-up version of Mint that focuses more on investments, retirement and total net worth. You can still manage smaller accounts like Mint, but Personal Capital is tailored to bigger accounts.
- Lifelock: The more you have, the more you have to lose. Identity theft and corporate breaches are a rising epidemic, and you don’t want to take any chances. Identity theft protection services like Lifelock monitor your credit score and accounts and will alert you of any suspicious activity. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the easier it is to correct it. Lifelock’s social media channelis also a good hub for tips to keep your accounts secure.