My journey to financial wellness – Part 3
Do you know that a big part of your finances has nothing to do with maths or numbers? If it was, you would have figured out by now that debt is standing in your way to becoming financially well. It has a lot to do with how you think about it. What you think about money affects your habits; how you spend on what you eat, wear, drive etc… Yeah I know, you guys read Part 1 and Part 2 and are looking forward to reading about how I got out of debt. I know, I know. Don’t worry, that is coming in the next blog I promise. Before we attack that debt monster, we have got to get our hearts and heads quite right.
What’s your why?
Have you thought about what you believe about money? What is money to you? What does it represent? Is it a means to an end or is money the end? Is money a tool? Is it a curse or a blessing? How we grew up can have an impact on how we deal with money. If we were raised in an environment where there was a lot of lack, we might grow up wanting anything we can get because we never had enough. We may then live in a space of thinking there is never enough so we want to have it all, and have it now, and have it show externally. If you won the lotto and got R1 000 000 in your account today or whatever amount is right for you, what would you do with it? Ask yourself, ‘why do I want to be rich/wealthy?’ ‘Why do I want to get out of debt?’ If you do not have a clear ‘why’, you may find it a little hard to stick through the challenging times of the debt-free journey (and yes there will be difficult times), or growing in this area of financial wellness.
Run your own race
When some of my friends, colleagues and relatives were getting new cars or buying new houses, or phones, I needed to remind myself that I was not in competition with anyone, and that our journeys would look different. Seeing someone else driving a car you love or traveling to destinations you only dream about can spark envy if you are not focused on your own path. There will always be a new model of mobile phones and cars. Shops will always have new fashion – always, so you are not missing out. There are 195 countries in the world, a little more depending on which calculator you use, so there will always be a new place to explore. Run your OWN race.
One of the greatest weapons I had to cultivate during my journey was learning to be content. Having a grateful heart for what you already have is a major fuel in getting you to where you want to be. Being content does not mean one bins all their dreams or aspirations. It does not mean that we cease to be ambitious. It just means that you take a moment each day to be grateful, and to be a great steward of what you already have while chasing your other big dreams. I remember when I got my first car in 2004, I only had a small deposit of R6000 and asked my parents to find me a Fiat Palio. I was grossly unhappy when they brought me a 1995 Toyota Corolla GL. I was moving to Cape Town to start a new job so they wanted me to have a car that would be easy and cheap to maintain since Pa would not be around to help me out if I encountered any car trouble. I was so unhappy with that car and would often be so embarrassed driving it. When my family eventually sold it, the old man who bought it was crying tears because this was his dream car. What was to me an embarrassing car, was somebody’s ‘one day.’ Someone is praying for the life you have, yes the same one you are unhappy with.
Today, walk through your house, and be grateful for the roof over your head, the furniture, the clothes you can’t fit into your wardrobe, and the food on your table. If you have a car, whatever it may be, be content with the one you have and keep it clean and well serviced. If you don’t have a car, celebrate your legs; polish your shoes and keep them shining. All of us can celebrate life, because for as long as we are alive, we have an opportunity to make a difference in our lives and those around us.
In part 4 of this series I will go into the steps I took to get out of debt.