How do you make financial decisions?
Most people have trouble articulating their framework for making financial decisions. It begins with finding a healthy balance between spending and saving. Sounds easy right? But there are thousands of decisions involved in setting up your financial structure. In fact, UNCTV found that we make up to 35,000 remotely conscious decisions on a daily basis. Not all of these are financial of course. But our financial decisions touch so many areas from which side of the menu we order to where and how far we live from work. After these short-term decisions, examining your longer-term goals will have more meaning. So in this episode, we asked Cameron Hendricks to join us to help you understand how to create an intentional framework to make the right financial decisions for you and your family.
There are only 5 ways to use your money in the short-term
When planning to use your money you need to consider what your options are and whether to plan in the short-term or in the long-term. Many people will be surprised to discover that there are only 5 ways to use your money in the short-term.
- Give it away
- Pay taxes
- Pay debt
Each one of these short-term ways to use money impacts the other. Think about your spending as a pie chart. If your lifestyle expenses increase then one of the other options has to decrease. If you increase your savings then another option has to give.
You can start your planning by considering your long-term goals
Making intentional decisions means your short-term decisions should be driven by your long-term goals. It’s a good idea to start with long-term planning and work your way back to your short-term goals. There are 6 items to think of working towards from a long-term perspective.
- Financial independence – are you looking to retire or leave your job with its security?
- Charitable giving – this is more than just short-term charitable giving. You will need to have a process to achieve a higher goal.
- Freedom from debt – how much do you pay toward your debt? Pay down your miscellaneous debt first before tackling the mortgage.
- Lifestyle desires – this could include a second home or a boat
- Family needs – Many people want to save for their children’s college but also feel the need to help their elder parents.
- Starting a business – This takes planning and capital.
Find ways to simplify your financial decisions
Many people think that financial planning has to be complicated. But actually the more simple you can make your planning the better. Morgan Housel describes it this way, “complexity gives a comforting impression of control while simplicity is hard to distinguish from cluelessness.” You may seem like you are missing out on things when you plan simply, but it’s really about understanding the flow of money. Understand how your cash flow looks now and how it will impact the long-term financial decisions. You know there will be trouble ahead if you haven’t planned for the long-term.
Create a financial framework to plan your financial decisions
Financial decisions can seem daunting but if you have an intentional decision framework to help you walk through your financial choices then your choices will be more clear. We all have the temptation to spend, especially if we get a lump-sum payment or a bonus from work. But we need to find a way to balance our short-term satisfaction with delayed gratification. When you layout your long-term financial plans you can then start planning how to spend your money in the short-term.
Outline of This Episode
- [2:27] What are your options?
- [5:44] Find ways to automate
- [10:40] There are 6 items to think of from a long-term perspective
- [14:35] What should you do with a large one-time increase in income?
Resources & People Mentioned
- BOOK – Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn
- Podcast – Making Better Decisions with the Laws of Wealth with Daniel Crosby
- Article & Podcast – How Likely Are You to Build Wealth
- UNCTV – How many daily decisions do we make?
Connect with Cameron Hendricks
Connect With Chad and Mike
- Connect on Twitter @csmithraleigh@TeamFSINC
- Follow Financial Symmetry on Facebook