In this space I have spoken on many occasions that, regardless of our income level, the money we earn is limited and that is why we cannot do everything at the same time. We are forced to prioritize. That is exactly what we do when we make our spending plan.
However, so many people are not clear about their priorities in life: what is truly important to them. Or they lose sight of it because short-term “tastes” get in the way.
No one aims, for example, to go into debt during a night or special sale. But there are people who go out with their hands full during the Good End until they receive a reality check and realize that the debts they acquired have reduced their financial capacity and with it their ability to save. The funny thing is that they keep repeating the same pattern.
This happens for many things, but one of the most important reasons is that people are not clear about their priorities in life (or simply, they confuse what is truly important with shorter-term goals).
We are all different and therefore have different priorities. But even those that may seem the same, are interpreted differently. For example: there are people who tell me that the most important thing is the safety of their family. But that, in concrete terms, can mean many things.
So I have seen people who have many locks on their house, surveillance cameras and blacksmithing on doors and windows. But they have not thought about what would happen to their children if they were absent, or had an accident that prevented them from continuing to work.
We all have to think about what is truly important to us and that is also closely related to our values. Are we clear about what they are? This is key to later establish goals and objectives that are in line with those priorities and also to make decisions when a wish comes our way.
Managing money has a lot to do with managing time. We all realize that there is never enough time to do everything we want to do. Just like money. So we have to learn to manage them effectively and put first things first: the most important things on the calendar, then everything else.
Many people do exactly the opposite: they fill their schedule with commitments and leave out what may be more important, such as spending quality time with their children. That curiously is what is usually postponed.
The same thing happens with money: it will never reach us for everything. When making our spending plan, we have to allocate a part of the money we earn to our priorities and then to everything else.
But people here also do the opposite: they spend by inertia, on everyday things, or on treats they want to give themselves. Others use it to pay for things that they have already bought in previous months (debts) – these are chains that take away our freedom, we cannot use that money for other things, so we have less for what we really want.
Here I have talked about paradigms and how we have to change our way of thinking and living, if we want to change our reality. But to achieve this, having our priorities clear is essential.
Personal Finance Coach
Senior executive in insurance and reinsurance with strategic business vision, high leadership, negotiation and management skills.
He is also a Personal Finance columnist in El Economista, Personal Finance Coach and creator of the page www.planetusfinanzas.com