You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent. – Paulo Coelho
You need to decide what you want your future to look like. The decisions you make every day will move you toward or away from your financial goals. What do you want your story to be? In 10 years’ time, what do you want to be saying to people about this part of your life? Do you want to say, “I got my finances under control and it changed my future”, or do you want to be telling your old stories? Think about your legacy. Every day, you are writing a page in your book.
What is it that you want your children and your grandchildren to be saying about you and the decision that you made at this time? I encourage you to make a decision to be empowered around money. Sometimes being a grown-up is like playing dress-up and pretending. You might have to ‘fake it, till you make it’. But you need to make a start.
Science tells us that faking a smile will make us feel happier, even without feeling any of the normal emotions associated with smiling. Just smiling will trick your brain into creating and releasing feel-good chemicals into your bloodstream. The trick even works if you put a pencil between your teeth because the movement activates the smile muscles. At the same time, your heart rate will go down and you’ll start to feel calmer and happier.
Amy Cuddy, in her popular TED Talk titled ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’, discusses the concept of ‘fake it until you make it’. Amy discusses the power of non-verbal communication on people we are talking to, and how the same non-verbal communication has an effect on us. It seems the brain doesn’t really know the difference between when we are faking it and when it is real. Amy encourages us to ‘fake it until we make it’.
Just to clarify, I’m talking about faking being good with money. I’m not encouraging you to fake having money. Pretending to have more money than your do is extremely unhealthy. You’re deceiving yourself and you’re deceiving others. What’s more, if you’re spending more than you have, you will only end up in trouble. Money is like underwear. Everyone wants to know that you have it but we don’t want to see you flashing it around.
So what are some ways that we can “financially fake it”?
Arrange for your employer to take some savings from your pay. If you have money taken from your pay before you see it, you will quickly adjust to not having it. The same applies for pay increases. Ask your employer to direct a portion of each pay increase to your savings before you get used to having extra money. You will be surprised how quickly your savings will accumulate.
Set up your savings so they are hard to get to. Don’t leave money lying around in cash. It will be too much of a temptation. Investments are harder to get to, and you will probably pay some tax for redeeming an investment. Cash in a term deposit is accessible but if you break the term you will lose considerable interest. Some Cash Management Trusts (CMT’s) you have to wait three days to get your money.
Put systems in place to support your new savings habits. It’s best not to rely on your memory when it comes to transferring money into your savings accounts and investments. You are most vulnerable when you’re tired and you’ve had a busy day. You just won’t feel like bothering with your banking. If you have all of your savings and transactions automated your wealth building will continue even when you’ve had a bad day. Its impossible to be well behaved and motivated 365 days of the year. Your systems will support you if your not yet there emotionally.