Big goals can feel overwhelming. It’s easy to get lost in the planning, or to keep waiting for the perfect time to start. If you’ve ever thought I’ll save more once I get a raise, or once I’m ready to settle down, you’re not alone. Before you know it, you’ve let prioritizing your financial freedom slide further and further into the future.
The hardest part is often the beginning. Try these five easy steps to gain momentum as you start, or relaunch your personal journey towards financial freedom. Whether it takes you 10 years or 50, the important thing is to take action now.
1. Take the time to dream
It may seem silly, but it is so important to know why you’re choosing this journey. Do you have a vision for your future? Maybe you want to stay home with your kids, or you hope to travel the world. Whatever your driving force, keeping a clear picture in mind will help you hold the course when life gets in the way. Challenges are guaranteed with any big goal. Will you be ready to respond?
2. Schedule a time to get to know your numbers
Before you can truly plan, you will need to have a clear picture of where you are starting from. Depending on how complex your finances are this step may take a while, but that’s okay. Set aside time to gather information on all of your assets and debts and to make a list of the ones that will take more time to locate and access. When we started our journey, it felt like we had old 401ks all over the place! In the end, we chose to tackle one a week until we’d tracked them all down. Block out a day on the calendar now, get your partner on board, and schedule a babysitter if you need one. You’ve got this.
3. Begin recording your spending
One caveat here—this is a judgement free zone. You can tackle evaluating your expenses in the future. For now, just make a commitment to yourself to get it all on paper for the coming month. It’s important to know exactly where your money is going, so that you can make improvements in the future. Keeping an accurate record is easier if you decide how you’ll do so up front. You could charge everything to one credit card, or, if you use cash, keep a notebook or phone app handy to record purchases on the go. Looking for app ideas? Free apps like wally.me, mint.com, or mvelopes.com are a great place to start.
4. Start saving for financial freedom
Sometimes we spend too much time planning. Any start is better than no start. You can begin optimizing your personal financial plan later, once you know your numbers and your spending. For now, can you start putting aside $1 per day? $10 per week? $50 per paycheck? Figure out a timeline and amount that you won’t miss and just get started. But don’t set some crazy stretch goal—you want small, achievable wins and consistency over time.
5. Make an extra debt payment
Do you have a debt that you dread? Set up an automatic payment to start sending a little extra towards the principal each month. You will have time to refine your repayment plan once you get to know your numbers, but you can kick start your journey to financial freedom now by getting some momentum going.
Whether you take one step or all five, do something now to get started. Beginning a journey to financial freedom is one of the few areas in life where I can promise you that you won’t regret taking that first step. You’ve got this!
Interested in learning more? This article are a great place to start!
Have you begun your journey to financial freedom? What was your first step? I’d love to hear how you got started in the comments!