Warren Buffet once said that the whole point of working throughout your life is to get to the point where you don’t have to work anymore.
Today, we as a society – whether we are professionals working for someone else or we are entrepreneurs – are earning more than ever. Yet, we don’t really know what to do with the money we earn and that’s like pouring water into a bucket with holes all over it and expecting it to ever fill.
A great part of the problem is that people today are lacking in fiscal education. As a result, far too many of us “earn and burn” – keeping ourselves in a seemingly never-ending pattern that will not allow us to meet that end goal of “rest” or the work life balance we want and deserve along the way.
Another famous Warren Buffet quote is, “It’s not how much you earn but how much you keep.”
Just as you need a roadmap for making money, you need a roadmap for building wealth and keeping it too.
Otherwise, you will likely find yourself chasing your financial goals relentlessly but against a goalpost that keeps moving farther and farther away from you. Just like a hamster on a wheel, you will continue feeling as if your financial goals are just slightly out of your grasp – no matter how hard or long you work to get there.
You must fix your financial goalpost firmly in the ground and move steadily toward it for better work life balance and greater freedom now and later in life.
Where do you want to be “at the end” – when your work is done and it is time to stop working? How much money do you need to stop working and retire with your current (or better) lifestyle? Many people find that they need to meet with a financial planner at this point. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions. You MUST know clearly where you are going to ever get there.
Where are you now? You need to take full stock of your current financial situation and habits. It’s time to let go of denial and really get clear on your current financial status. Just remember – you cannot develop a plan if you are not fully aware of the problem.
Work backwards and set “checkpoints” between where you want to be and where you are now. This will likely be based on the length of time – the distance – between “here” and “there”. A good rule of thumb would be to take the time and divide it into quarters. Then set specific goals for each of those “quarters” in your roadmap.
From checkpoint to checkpoint, create specific action steps that will be needed to meet the checkpoint goals.
If necessary, learn the skills or gather the information necessary for you to perform those specific action steps successfully.
Turn all of these steps into a formalized plan of action. This will become your roadmap to financial freedom, “rest” at the end, and work life balance along the way.
Susan Sly is a best selling author, work life balance expert, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.