It always seems like it takes a tragedy or emergency in some form for most people to look at the big picture of their personal finances. A bankruptcy, a death in the family, a foreclosure, or a mountain of debt – all pretty big wake up calls.
While I tend to think that I am pretty grounded when it comes to personal finance, even if I only work at my goals at a slow pace, the recent hospitalization of my grandma has me thinking so much about her life.
When it comes to life it seems like she had so many things figured out. Money was one of those things. She always saved and she never went without. She was smart. And she worked hard. She built businesses and loved going to work each day. She had a good balance.
I think having a good balance is so important. Here’s what I’ve learned about living a financially balanced life from her.
Find Work You Enjoy and Work Hard
One of the most important aspects of having a balanced life is finding work that you enjoy and then working hard.
While working hard can mean many things it doesn’t always mean working long hours. When you find work you enjoy doing you just need to completely dedicate yourself to the matter at hand for the specified time period. Focus is key.
Put in a day of hard (and smart) work and then go home and enjoy your family.
Save For Today and Tomorrow
I’ve always thought having an emergency fund was a must. I want some stability and since my job as a freelancer doesn’t provide a stable, set paycheck each week I love having savings to fall back on if needed.
Another thing I firmly believe is that saving for a big purchase is a reward in itself. It’s gratifying to save a large portion of money and invest it, use it for a down payment on a home, or pay for a large purchase in cash. To me, the journey is more rewarding than the item being bought.
While saving for big financial goals is necessary it’s equally important to use money to enhance your life now. I don’t mean draining your savings to keep up with the Joneses. But rather build memories. Take a trip every six months with your family. Do something fun.
You’ll never get your time back. Use it wisely. Make memories with the people you love and save for things you’re going to need later in life. Find the balance.
Invest for Retirement
My grandma had many sources of retirement income although she’s never actually retired. She loves her business. She’s spent the majority of her life building it.
However, if she didn’t want to work she wouldn’t have to. She’d still receive income from the business if ran by a manager, income from rental properties, and retirement accounts.
I think it’s very important to be diversified when it comes to retirement income. And that doesn’t mean just stocks and bonds. There are all kinds of investments you can take advantage of.
It might seem hard to sock away money for retirement but that retirement day will come. And, if you want to enjoy your life in your golden years you’re going to need money.
Money is a tool. If used right it can help you build the life and memories that you want to have. If out of balance it can take over your life: you either spend all your time chasing a dollar or all of your time figuring out how to pay the bills.
Balance sounds so much better.
Do you have a good money balance?