This is a simple article about one family (ours!) who dared to dream big 4 years ago and finally climbed out of financial ruin. Many families, including ours, were in financial crisis long before the wall street meltdown and current economic concerns hit. A growing majority simply don’t have enough cash to make ends meet, much less investing in their future. Combine this with the recent job losses and you have a recipe for a major financial crisis.
Finding opportunity amidst the financial crisis involves thinking about your situation in a brand new way.
What is it that you’re after?
The way money relates to “freedom” lies in the ability to devote your life to causes that you deem as more soul serving than working to make ends meet. Whether you are after just a little more each month or getting to a position where you no longer have money worries, each family can generate what they are looking for with some focused attention on a few key factors.
Our family is working towards financial freedom and early “retirement.” As the children of parents who have had very little financial success, my husband and I have seen how years of money worries can smother hopes and dreams. We knew we wanted to avoid repeating the same circumstance in our lives, however, without understanding a few basic rules of financial wellness we made a mess of our own finances soon after getting married.
There is a silver lining in all crisis though. Financial meltdowns can serves a huge opportunity for you and your family with some work and a fresh perspective.
Why is a financial crisis your best opportunity?
The problem with being constantly cash strapped is that over time it can seriously affect how you perceive opportunity in the world.
I’m going out on a limb to say that since there is no shortage of opportunity, a limited perspective is one of the major reasons why it is so hard for families to recreate their bank balance. A limited perspective makes it very hard to overcome obstacles and hardship. The comforts of stability do not require much personal growth and learning so a crisis of any kind is amplified by how ill prepared a person is to handle it.
We lived for 4 years on the verge of bankruptcy and nothing sucked more than being a slave to our own circumstance! The good news is that a financial crisis turns your life upside down. Crisis has always motivated people to make great changes in their lives and your financial crisis can be the same gift of change, if you choose.
The following 7 keys will help you see a financial crisis from a new perspective and turn it into your best opportunity:
1. Accept Personal Responsibility.
Regardless of the perceived cause of your crisis, accept responsibility for it. To quote a popular saying, “you cannot change what you don’t accept.” While external situations may have caused additional hardships, take back control for the fact that the solution now lays in your hands.
If your financial slop has been brewing over a longer period of time, begin to ask yourself probing questions about how you view money, yourself, success and other successful people to greater understand why opportunity may continuously elude. (I’ll include a book list for the next article which will help you probe deeper into this.)
The main point is that people who are personally responsible no longer feel scammed, cheated or defeated because they take advantage of each situation as a learning opportunity. Become solution oriented and forget spending time thinking about things that do not change your circumstance.
2. Don’t Rely On Others To Make It Easier.
As soon as you decide that you cannot rely on others for your financial well being, you will no longer accept less than you deserve. Are you holding out for a little while forsaking the opportunity to Be and Have more?
We soon realized what a huge motivator “rock bottom” can be! Continuous “help” from others is a problem because it serves as a band-aid that only delays the need to hit “rock bottom” and become resourceful enough to figure out a solid plan of action. While assistance can be a lifesaver for the short term, don’t exchange it for the reward of being able to choose how you want to live.
3. Accept that There Is No “Secret” Formula.
Call it the “lottery mentality” in the age of instant gratification. We, along with so many people were waiting for the “big reveal” on what it takes to be financially independent. There must be something they’re not telling us? One of our biggest moments of personal growth was realizing that we too can have the same success as others. There is no “secret” that we need be privileged enough to have access to!
All of the highly successful people we have come into contact with have only been willing to do a few key things that others are not willing to do.
Financial independence comes with a price though. There is a price to pay for everything. Do you have the discipline to delay your gratification in order to make sacrifices with your time and effort until you reach your goals?
4. Study To Grow Larger Than The Problems You Face.
Most of us eventually arrive at our destination not because we’ve intended it to be this way but because we’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. You can be sure that the one thing that greatly influences every financial decision in your home is your own personal mindset about money. Use this crisis as an opportunity to understand how your thinking differs from those who are in the financial position you want to be in.
Thinking about our personal views on success and money was a lot of fun although frustrating and shocking to admit that we had some pretty “poor” ways of seeing ourselves. Once you begin to shift your perspective you will be in a much better position to take steps towards fixing your financial situation.
5. Invest In Yourself First.
YOU are the best return on your money. If you want to break past the ceiling or plateau of J.O.B. income then it pays to invest in yourself.
Consider starting a business. You don’t need to bet the family farm to gain big rewards either. Start small. If you don’t have a business yet, consider that the only way to build something for the future is to generate multiple streams of income. Begin with one additional income stream outside your current job or income source.
Examine your financial goals, talents and passions and then take some steps to invest in yourself and your future.
6. Learn To Take Calculated Risks.
The day we finally became sick and tired of our limited choices was the day we decided to take our first bold steps towards a new life. We were able to risk what others do not because we felt we didn’t have much to lose. Despite popular advice, we chose to risk it all because the life we had would always be waiting for us if we “failed.”
Do you take the risks required to advance towards your dreams? When you do take a risk and it doesn’t provide the results you seek, does the cynic take over and you give up? Mature your “entrepreneur spirit” by taking small calculated risks that will season your tolerance level for taking bigger risks in the future .
Don’t let any “problems” along the way become a roadblock for you! The only way to move past problems is by paying special attention to Key #4 – “Study to become larger than the problems you face.”
7. Be Selective.
Too many people take financial advice from people who are not walking their talk. Is your “adviser” earning a wage from his advice or is he financially free because of his advice? Big difference.
If it is financial abundance you are seeking then it pays to learn a little about what the rich do to get wealthy. How do they think, how do they work, how do they see assets, liabilities, time, and opportunity. Their perspective is much different that what you will find on TV or from the popular “money guru’s” currently dispelling their advice.
Also remember that much of the so called wealth you see around you is swimming in debt so never feel envy or competition towards others.
In Summary Tune out the negative and focus on what YOU want for your family. Stop buying into the crisis, set a new course and be willing to go the distance. You can do this because we managed to do it, even when everything was against us.
Find out more about the valuable resources that that saved us from ourselves on my blog.