A successful day doesn’t begin when you wake up, stretch, exercise, then eat a good breakfast that will provide the fuel you’ll need to power the rest of your day. Those are all important ways to start a day off right, but in reality a great tomorrow starts today.
The same holds true for your bright financial future – unless you’re making the right moves today, you’ll not suddenly wake up one day to find that everything is great.
Your bright financial future begins today!
Table of Contents
A Great Tomorrow Starts Today
Chronologically speaking, it makes sense to talk about starting your day with a rock solid morning routine. You wake up and hydrate, stretch and do some light exercising, eat a healthy breakfast, quietly think about your day and what needs to be done, then go out and make it be a great day. Easy peasy, right?
The problem with a rock solid morning routine is that it’s greatly influenced by the night before. Look to late night advertisements for evidence. Why does McDonald’s advertise breakfast sandwiches and morning coffee on the evening news and late night TV programing? Because good marketers know how things work and they are setting you up for setting you up for tomorrow, tonight.
And you should be doing the same thing. No matter how good your intentions are, your day probably won’t get off to a great start if you stayed up late the night before working on a presentation for work, studying for a test, drinking and partying, or even just watching a game on TV.
Doing those things is a great way to set yourself up for a slow and sluggish start – not for a great day. That’s why a good tomorrow begins tonight. Think of it like preparation; setting yourself up for success.
I grew up hanging drywall with my dad and brothers. Sometimes we were doing very small jobs, like patching where a doorknob (or a fist) had made a hole in the wall. Other times we were hanging the shreetrock in brand new homes. Whatever the job was, our goal was the same: get things ready for a painter to do his job.
Easy enough, right? But there is a TON of work that needs to be done ahead of time so that we could complete our job.
Before anyone can begin to paint the drywall and other materials must be purchased and delivered to the job site. Measurements need to be made, cuts made and sheetrock hung. Drywall mud needs to applied then sanded (multiple times), a texture might need to be sprayed on the walls and ceiling. All of this needs to be done before anyone can begin to paint.
And before the drywall crew can do their thing, someone else needed to excavate the building lot, pour a foundation, frame out the walls, doors, and ceiling. Plumbing and electrical lines need to be run through the framing. HVAC needs to be installed.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done before you can enjoy the finished product.
Set Yourself Up for Success
It’s the same with your personal finances. If you want to begin to build wealth, you need to prepare for it. Unfortunately, you don’t just wake up wealthy. You need to spend less money than you earn. Consistently.
You need to use your extra cash to pay down, and eventually pay off your debts. You need to avoid future debts. You need to reduce unnecessary expenses. Then when you’re in a good position with your debt, you use your excess income to save and invest.
Once you’ve put your money to work, you need to give your investments time to grow and to work for you, all the while adding more and more of your excess funds to your savings and investment accounts and avoiding debt.
You know what you need to do, but actually doing the prep work is hard!
People are funny creatures. We know what we should do, but many of us don’t do it anyway.
For example, why do so many people smoke when we know we shouldn’t? I completely understand why someone that’s addicted to smoking would keep smoking, but why start in the first place when we know how bad it is for our health, and how expensive the habit can be?
Very few people think to themselves, “Hey ,you know what? Smoking is going to do wonders for my health so I’m going to start sucking down a pack a day!”
Same thing with eating well. We know what we should be eating and what foods we should avoid, but instead we end up at the drive through supersizing our orders (damn those late night McDonald’s commercials!)
If you want to be wealthy, healthy, fit, smart, or anything else then you need to put in the time. You need to prepare and work hard for what you want.
Nobody is going to hand success to you. You’re not going to wake up one day with six pack abs and toned muscles. You’re not going to wake up one day and suddenly be financially independent. If you want a better tomorrow, you need to start preparing for it tonight.
How To Prepare For Tomorrow
There’s an old Chinese proverb that I love; it goes like this: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.” So what are some things you can you do today to set yourself up for financial success tomorrow? Lots of things!
- Start by spending less money than you make. If you’re spending more money than you earn, stop it! You’ve got a financial emergency on your hands. Begin to re-take control by eliminating unnecessary or frivolous expenses. Stop using credit cards. Check out his list of unusual ways to save money.
- Track your spending like a hawk. I can almost guarantee that there is an area in your budget where you spend more money than you think you do. Use free wealth management tools like Mint or Personal Capital to track your spending by categories, identify where you overspend, then make the necessary adjustments from there.
- Save whatever money you can. If things are really tight, start small. Save your pocket change! Use the Acorns finance app to save and invest your spare change. This is a great first step to take if you don’t know what else to do. If you’re in a better spot, increase the amount of money you’re putting into your 401(k), IRA, or savings account.
- Follow the formula. Building wealth isn’t complicated. The hardest part about getting rich is waiting for it to happen. Here’s the formula you’ll need to follow: (1) Spend less money than you make. (2) Invest that difference. (3) Eliminate, then avoid debt.
- Just do something! It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters most is that you just get started. Pick something than you can do today and then do it. It will make you feel good that you’ve taken that step, which will then motivate you to keep looking for more and more ways to improve. You’ll quickly pick up momentum and will be on the path to Get Rich Quick’ish, but only if you take that first step today!
What are some other quick and easy things you can do today, that will set you up for success tomorrow?