You’ve made the decision – you want to save more, invest more, or get out of debt. You want a zero credit card balance, a full bank account, a growing 401K and enough left over for two weeks in Europe.
If you are like many of my clients this is actually doable, (really, it is). But you know the catch – it means cutting back on the amount of spending you are used to doing.
Just how much should you cut back on spending? How do you choose between the quality of your life now, versus achieving your goals for the future? Should you dash to the finish line, trading a lot of spending now to reach your goal quickly? Or should you walk briskly – or maybe even stroll leisurely? The answer is different for everyone – here’s how I help my clients find the right balance for them.
Run the Numbers:
You can’t make any informed decisions without knowing what you are currently spending. With my clients I usually calculate their basic monthly expenses and then see what’s left over for discretionary spending. I divide number in half and suggest 50% goes to saving or debt reduction, 50% goes to spending.
Identify your WQ (Willingness Quotient)
But this is just a starting point for thinking about the question. It’s a serving suggestion for you brain to chew on. To actually find the right number for each client I have them do the following exercise to identify how willing they are to commit to the 50/50 split and modify from there. Below are the steps to try this at home:
Important note -this sounds goofy but the wording is very important here. When you want a goal badly or when you feel irresponsible not moving quickly there is a tendency to lie to yourself about what you are really willing to do. You want to be willing to go fast, but I’d much rather you move slowly in the right direction than frustrate yourself and give up. So the following goofy-sounding things are key:
- Frame this exercise as you asking your brain the question, not you asking yourself. This will help separate that part of you that wants to go fast from the part of you that intends to hold you back later on. Better to let that part speak now and deal with it.
- Use the term “willing” rather than “want”. Nobody wants to give up stuff. You need to find out if you are willing to do it anyway.
- Telling your brain you are willing to accept either answer helps again to keep your from lying to yourself.
So there you have it – stroll or sprint, it’s up to you. Just make sure you are moving in the right direction. And if you still feel daunted by this process post a question in the comments below or sign up for a free discovery call and I’ll help you out.