Written by the girls from
She’s on the Money
Remember in primary school when you were confronted by a difficult equation or an overwhelming problem your sweet seven-year-old brain just couldn’t figure out? The teacher would liken finding the solution to eating an elephant.
“You can’t just eat an elephant in one bite”, Mr Timms would say, “It would never work - if you chop the elephant into tiny, bite size pieces however, you’ll definitely be able to devour the whole elephant, given you have an appetite and the right attitude.” Not verbatim but you get the gist.
While slightly creepy, confusing and potentially to blame for my now vegetarianism, this elephant eating analogy has long stuck with me, so much so that I still use it in everyday life, even when it comes to money. While initially money can seem too overwhelming a topic to tackle, if you break it down and set goals for yourself, transforming your relationship with money is going to be far more achievable.
But how do we actually figure out the goals will work for us? We thought you might ask that…
FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO GOAL-SETTING
1. Know your money story
Take a mo to figure out what your relationship with money is, how you think about it and your beliefs surrounding it, reflecting on why you behave the way you do with money. What were your parents like with money? Were you affluent or was your family more frugal struggling to make ends meet? Did your dad take care of the cash flow or was your mum in charge of money stuff? Once you’ve taken the time to consider all of this – confronting though it may be – you’ll more easily be able to identify the problem areas in your relationship with money, which is a great basis for us to use to form our goals.
2. Work out your values
You’ve got your story sorted but what are your money values? Your money values quite literally, are the values you place around money. Some of us prefer to have a nest egg in our bank account and don’t care so much about making sure our wardrobe is stocked with the newest items, while others CRAVE material possession and that’s okay! You simply need to find a way you can work in the purchasing of X, Y or Z into your budget so that it won’t jeopardise other goals you may have. If you completely restrict the purchasing of what you love and value, chances are you’ll fall down fairly quickly into a puddle of self-loathing, derailing all of your good efforts which is absolutely not what we want!
3. Take the time to sit down and write down your goals – it makes them stick!
You’ve got your story, you know your values, now it’s time to draft up your goals, ensuring you WRITE THEM DOWN! As mentioned in a previous article on this site, writing down your goals makes you way more likely to stick to them, as those words on the paper cement your intention and you can tick off your goal once you’ve hit it.
4. Don’t compare yourself baby
Oh it can be hard. It can be so, so hard. Make sure you stay in your lane on your pursuit to goal fulfilment, not peeping over to those who are doing better than you – this is such an easy way to fall down. Your goals are your own, no one else’s, so concentrate on YOU and don’t lose focus.
5. If you can’t quite figure it out, see a financial advisor
Some of us just need help from the pros. If you’ve attempted the above but can’t quite find the right goals for you, then that’s okay! Investing in an appointment with a financial advisor is a great idea as these are the guys who know money inside and out, and have likely come across people in a similar financial boat to you.
In sum, if ever you are feeling overwhelmed, no matter the life problem, think of the elephant… it may not always help but at least you’ll have the cute animal visual to brighten any confused moment.