For a while, I saw any financial statement, as a rubber stamp, about my current and future financial situation.
After lots of trials, errors and wins - I finally understood that my financial journey outcomes depend on how honest I am about the facts.
The obstacle: I had a mental filter that focused more on what failed until this was spelt out to me by a ''money-smart'' relative.
Then I learnt that facts about my financial situation and goals have to mesh together; to create practical objectives, plans and solutions.
Each person’s financial situation does vary - for instance, you owe too much, earn too little or are looking for a change. Whatever the case, it pays to focus on your accomplishments.
So, what should you look out for; to celebrate and keep you motivated? Here are six signs that you might be doing better than you think
In the psychology field - it's widely noted that social comparison is a key influential factor in decision-making processes. Consequently, it makes planning and executing goals somewhat challenging; however, this is also a reason to go easy on yourself.
First, success doesn’t occur overnight.
Not yet convinced? It is a fact that positive self perception is an asset.
Generally, "When you have more than the people you're comparing yourself to, you’re going to feel rich. If you're not as well off as the people you're comparing yourself to, you’re going to feel poor.”
With that example, it becomes clear that even if money is tight, you’re better off actively planning, managing, and working towards your peace of mind and financial security.
Remember, everyone's goals and priorities are unique, and that’s why you need a personalised, practical plan to save up and achieve your goals.
So, do you have one or more goals you're working towards (such as a property down-payment, retirement, children's college fund)? Good. Goals prepare you for your financial future, so if this describes you, kudos!
You might judge your success or failure by your capability to save (in terms of amount and consistency).
However, getting into the habit of saving is a grounding principle for long-term financial success.
As such, you may actually be doing better than you think, if you’ve set aside a suitable percentage of your monthly income for savings.
What’s more, you can confidently weather unexpected financial times without borrowing or significantly disrupting your lifestyle.
Understandably, as stated in a previous article, planning for the unexpected can be a tricky affair.
However, one way to know you're doing better financially; is if your emergency fund can get you through a few tough times.
It is recommended that one sets aside an emergency fund amount equal to three to six months' worth of expenses.
That should adequately cover basic living expenses in the event of an emergency and any other events that may cause loss of disruption of income.
If you are working towards building a robust emergency fund or already have one, you may be doing better financially than you may want to think.
Think back to when all you had in your account was the minimum balance. No one would fault you if you’d prefer to forget such nerve-wracking memories.
If you don't have overdraft fees and bounced/return cheque fees draining your bank account, you're doing well.
An overdraft is like any other loan because an overdraft on your account allows you to meet your financial obligations when you have insufficient funds. However, as the account holder, you pay interest on overdraft.
In situations where you choose to or have overdraft protection, as provided by some banks, you may avoid the insufficient funds' charges when your account reaches zero. Unfortunately, this often includes interest and other fees.
In short, to avoid this hassle, spend what you have, as planned. Don’t overdraw your account, and never bounce a cheque.
If your account balance is healthy relative to your lifestyle, even when you might not be owning big ticket assets yet, you are on the right track. Now make sure you maintain good financial habits and build your way up.
Hats off to you for getting this far in the article (appreciate this as another sign you’re on the right track).
The gist of it is: anytime you choose to watch a video, read an article, listen to a radio show or podcast to improve your financial literacy, you're making a proactive and rewarding decision.
Choose to value learning. Be intentional and patient with yourself about identifying and understanding your financial habits, learning money management, building saving and investing skills and more.
To build wealth you have to be knowledgeable and the pursuit of financial knowledge is supposed to be an ongoing activity not exactly a destination.
If you have chosen to continually learn more about making, investing, saving and spending money, no matter where you are on your financial journey, you are on the right track.
If you actively work to reduce your debt and avoid incurring unplanned debt, you are doing quite well.
This way, you learn to value financial discipline and be mindful about how you got into debt and various debt repayment plan(s).
One debt repayment strategy to consider is the snowball method. This method mainly focuses on clearing debt; in ascending order. That means arranging debt amounts starting from the least to the highest amount.
Just as important - is being motivated.
As Earl Wilson said,“There are three kinds of people: the haves, the have-nots, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-haves." So, which of the three are you?
Debt can be a great instrument to build your net worth, but when care is not taken to choose the right product from the right lender as well as borrowing for the right reasons, debt can become a financially draining burden.
So if you have your debt situation in check - you are either diligently repaying your debt or are out of debt, it’s a good sign you are on the right track.
Building wealth is a journey with several stages before one can claim to have actually achieved financial success.
But before getting to the top of whatever financial success looks like for you, there are tell-tale signs of being on the right track.
Being able to identify these signs is great not only to stay motivated but also to make course corrections that guarantee you achieve your goal.
The above and more are indicators of good financial health which should motivate you to stay on track no matter what stage you are at in your financial journey.
READ ON: The 7 Stages of Financial Freedom