Having read countless articles about personal finance and money management, I’ve come to the following conclusion. The best thing that I can do to insure that I have a sound financial future is to be a better boss – of myself. Allow me to explain.
About four years ago, after spending almost 15 years working (with very little in savings to show for it, and several thousand dollars in credit card and automobile debt), I had a (what is now quite obvious) revelation: It’s not just important that I have a job, pay bills, and take care of pressing financial needs, but it’s also vitally important that I take the time to actually manage my finances so that I can provide long-term financial stability for myself and my family.
I understood, from a very young age, that it was important that I work hard and do a good job for my employer. What I missed out on, and what I think most folks are missing out on, is the fact that it’s also important to do a good job – for myself. I had to learn to focus on the “business of me”. I realize that this is not a novel concept, but it is one with which I did not personally identify until just a few years ago.
Like most people, I live a busy life. I have a wonderful wife, a full time job (in the real world), a part-time job (in the online world), and three young children. My wife and I are busy with activities at our church, taking our kids to and from various practices and school events, and spending (some limited amount) of time with our own friends, socializing. At the end of most days, I’m exhausted, ready to veg out in front of the television, eat some popcorn, and then go to sleep. It’s always tempting, especially when things get busy and I’m mentally exhausted, to neglect sound money management. Tempting – and foolish.
Over the past four years, I have learned to boss myself around. Instead of neglecting my finances, I make them a priority. On my calendar, right next to appointments and scheduled events, I pencil-in time to pay bills, research investment opportunities, read other personal finance sites, and work-out my budget.
I am not naturally inclined towards organization. I tend to be forgetful and I have a hard time remembering dates, names, faces, schedules, and times. I have learned, however, to be very organized. I live on a budget. I have a filing system for financial documents. I regularly review all of my financial accounts. I maintain a balanced, neat checkbook. Each day, I make the choice, the firm decision, to do all of the small things that are necessary for managing my finances. I boss myself around – and I listen to the boss.
There are thousands of resources (many which I use and recommend) which can help us manage our finances, but the most powerful resource isn’t found on a bookshelf or linkable via some website. The most powerful resource you have is your will – your choice to be and to do more – with your life, your money, your talents, your blessings, your gifts, and your time. Evey significant change in your financial life begins with a choice that you make – a soul-deep decision to follow a specific, certain path.
The above was going to be my last sentence, but I feel compelled to include the following. When I speak of “bossing myself around”, I mean that I choose to make financial management a priority and I choose to move from laziness towards productivity. It is important to me that I point out, that as a believer in Christ, all ultimate authority resides with Him, in whom I have placed my trust. I use the word “boss” in a positive light, as one who manages that with which he has been blessed. Rock on!