For 2017, you may have made a resolution to get your finances in order and build a clear path towards long-term wealth. However, your mindset about money might still be stuck in 2016 - or may even be stuck in the Dark Ages. Let us discuss five uncommon and future-focused ways of approaching your finances for living well and doing well.
1. You Can Only Get So Far Through Savings
It is incredibly rare to find a piece of personal finance advice that focuses on anything other than sacrifice and security. The wellness industry fixates on a near-Puritanical obsession with cutting lattes out of the daily routine and stocking everything away in a well-matched 401K.
However, there are common-case strategies that will only lead you to a common result. While delayed gratification is one of the core components to a successful life, making saving the only part of your strategy does not pan out mathematically.
Maintain some form of sensible frugality, but the time that you spend clipping coupons can be better spent through a lucrative side hobby that becomes a business, and a fraction of the money that you stash away hoping for it to reach its target may see much more substantial gains if invested in a new, money-making skill.
Search for ways to earn more money, aside from the tradition of hoping for a raise. Savings have a hard and low cap, while potential earnings do not.
2. Know When to Take Risks
In keeping with the theme above, you must recognize that the greatest gains that we will ever see involve some sort of risk. Do not think of the process of building financial security as nothing but the process of minimizing risk.
While caution and risk mitigation are important, you will have to decide to take chances in order to reach a level of abundance. Whether that comes in the form of venturing into real-estate, starting a blog, or learning to be a complete currency trader, you will inevitably need to put something on the line to reach your full potential.
3. On the Flip Side, Know When it is Time to Protect Your Assets
Here is the Yang to the previous section’s Yin. While you must be an effective and strategic risk-taker, you must build and equally strong ability for knowing when it is time to protect what is yours.
First off, you should educate yourself against any offers that will hurt your interests. A common one is the whole life insurance policy offered by some institutions. Unlike term life insurance that you would get through an employer, it is portable and builds cash value. But unlike term life, it is practically never sold without the salesmanship of an agent. Ask yourself why this is.
Protecting your interests will obviously apply to your most valuable assets, but you can exercise the principle on any level, such as putting a strong invisible shield on your mobile device via Ultimate Shield.
4. Flip Common Strategies on the Head
As we have stressed before, using common wisdom rarely ever moves you towards an extraordinary result. This is especially true in the internet age, as there has been an exponential explosion of tools that allow us to build and find value and many more that are to come. This means that time-tested ideas may no longer work and you must get used to strategies that are always in flux.
For instance, to save money on airfare you may want to change the traditional process of choosing a destination and then looking for a good price by choosing your price and finding a time frame where there is a flash deal for your destination. You can also explore the option of chaining one-way tickets, which according to Forbes are no longer necessarily more expensive than the round-trip variety.
5. Abstention from Luxury Is Unsustainable
It is somewhat odd that we have discussed spending so much within an article about maximizing finances. However, the “spend money to make money” maxim applies in the interpersonal realm as well to business. This is because people have been scientifically verified to have finite stores of “willpower.” While chronic frugality may save money on paper, it will take its toll and can lead to a regression to bad habits – the same process for which most dieters can vouch.
The implication is that you need not feel guilty about reasonable doses of expensive play - it is necessary for keeping to your good habits in the long run. If, for instance, you plan a ski trip, feel free to go for the luxurious accommodations of a place like Adobe Park City rather than roughing it in rock-bottom budget lodging.