By FPA member Nathan Gehring, CFP®
Last Updated: October 31, 2011
We are bombarded daily with tens of thousands of decisions. In the first half hour of the day, hundreds of decisions hit us. What clothes to wear, what to eat for breakfast, do the kids need lunch, does the car need gas on the way to work or later, and on and on... We also must make dozens, if not hundreds, of financial decisions each day. Some are small (should I get that candy bar) and others can be large (how much effort will I put into my career today). It's these cumulative decisions that eventually determine your financial well-being.
But how cognizant are you of each decision you make? How many of these decisions go by practically unnoticed and without a meaningful amount of thought? Did you arrive at work today and decide to work extra efficiently in order to help your company and push your career forward?
Maintaining and improving your financial well-being can begin by making one good decision daily. The simple step of taking the time to be aware of and really consider one financial decision can have tremendous impact.
The tricky part is recognizing that you will be making a financial decision worth considering. If it is a decision that you have already been making without much thought, it can easily slip by in the future. Fortunately, there is a strategy that can prevent this from happening.
One Good Decision
Start your day by making one good financial decision. Make it a daily ritual, something you do at the same time and in the same location and under the same circumstances. While shaving in front of your mirror. Or while drinking your first mug of coffee. Possibly during the drive to work. Pick a time and place that rarely varies.
Next, decide what that question will be. Pick a question that you believe will help set you on a good financial track for the rest of the day; a question that is meaningful to you. Some suggestions include:
- How will I approach my work and career today?
- Can I put an extra $5 in a savings account today?
- How much cash should I carry in my wallet?
- What can I do today that will improve my happiness without costing a thing?
- How can I positively impact my spouse/kids/friends that costs very little?
Once you have the question to ask yourself daily, answer it. There is no correct answer to your question. But there is a good decision to be made. A good decision means you have considered the question. It means you have taken the time to decide what will be best for you based on the current moment you are in. Making a good decision means using the tools and knowledge at your disposal to make a well-informed and well-considered decision.
A Step Forward
By making this one good decision every morning, you will have put yourself on a path to an improved financial well-being. You will begin your day being aware and intentional with at least one financial decision, and set yourself up for making more good decisions throughout the day.
FPA member Nathan Gehring, CFP®, provides financial planning services to young individuals and couples at My First Financial Planner, a service of Conceptual Investment Advisors, Inc.