“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28
Financial autonomy is about self-governing, freedom, and control over your finances which allow you to enjoy a successful and fulfilling life. It is making choices with your finances without feeling trapped. You get to decide for yourself and pursue a course of action in how to manage your finances.
For much of my life, I did not practice financial autonomy, I didn’t have a plan or method to managing my finances. They managed me. I was not a student of money and consequently did not understand how to effectively use money to improve my life. I made many careless mistakes such as:
- I didn’t Take Advantage of 401K Matching – That’s free money, and for six years I didn’t take advantage of it. What a big mistake! My company offered a 50% match up to a 6% contribution, which meant if I had put 6% of my salary in my 401K, they would have thrown in 3% of my salary. Check and see if your company provide an employer-sponsored savings plan with matching contributions and take advantage of it.
- I Only saved whatever was left at the end of the month – If you do that, don’t be surprised when there isn’t anything left to save. Instead, have your savings automatically set aside when you first get paid, before you even have a chance to spend it. The easiest way is to have money automatically transferred from your checking into savings.
- I Didn’t take advantage of my local bank resources – Many banks and credit unions offer a wide variety of information on saving & budgeting, debt management, how to purchase a home, etc. All I ever used was their checking and savings account and never took advantage of the other services. Some banks also offer financial literacy workshops.
“People ruin their own lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.” Proverbs 19:3
Often, it’s what we don’t know that holds us back. The more I read and research the subject of financial success the more understanding I gained.
So, what about financial autonomy? Well, there are three important components to financial autonomy, self-motivation, self-awareness and self-improvement.
#1. Self-motivation – is the ability to do what needs to be done, without influence from other people or circumstances. How hard are you willing push yourself to get what you want? One day If found myself in my mid-thirties with a good job, good benefits, but not enough savings. I had no role model. Nobody I knew personally was pursuing financial success. But I had a positive attitude and a desire for more in life, so I sought out expert advice and got on a path to financial success. Don’t allow anything to hold you back think about the successes in your life, recognize how much you’ve already achieved and understand how much potential you have. There is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but you can choose your attitude towards your circumstances. So how do you develop self-motivation? You:
- Own it – Having control and ownership of what we are doing makes us more motivated to actually do it.
- Help others – Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same.
- Track your progress – When you see your money growing, you will always want to nurture it.
#2. Self-awareness – Is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions. How we manage money, and the pitfalls we fall into, tells us tons about our beliefs and values. Data shows that 76% of people think they have a high level of financial knowledge and yet testing showed only 37% actually do. Improve your financial self-awareness by:
- Assessing your personal financial mission. Why do you want financial success? This is always a means to an end. So, what do you want to accomplish with it? Keep reminding yourself why this is important.
- Monitoring your results Plan time in your calendar to reflect on what’s working well with your finances and what isn’t. then make the proper adjustments
- Listening to your inner voice. Financial planning isn’t just about budgets and spreadsheets. Sometimes it’s a gut feeling that you’re feeling tension about your current situation, and you know that you need to make a change.
#3. Self-improvement – Is The activity of learning new things on your own that make you a more skilled or able person. Self-improvement is a continual process that begins within, based on a desire to do more to have more. In the beginning I made mistakes as I mentioned earlier, but I didn’t quit. Life works in cycles and moves to a rhythm. You will have up and downs. When you hit a slow point or things don’t seem to be moving, don’t give up, keep going. What are some things you might want to do?
- Turn every financial mistake into a learning experience. But you can only learn and grow from a mistake if you are able to admit you’ve made it.
- Learn from people who have achieved what you want. You should do what you can do to learn from these people as you look to learn and improve finances.
- Invest in yourself. Invest a percentage of your income back into yourself. to exponentially increase your finances. Remember, it’s what we don’t know that holds us back.
Dear Father, bless everyone who reads this blog. Give them the wisdom to know what to do, and the courage to do it, in Jesus name amen!