You Don’t Have to Be Defined by Your Financial Past

financial storyA tiger can’t change its stripes. But can it change its financial situation?

Yes. Well, maybe not a tiger – but we certainly can. It may be easier for some people than others, depending on one’s circumstances, but it’s possible to turn around finances and make things a lot better. This could mean going from bad to good, or perhaps good to exceptional.

Case in point: someone I know who went from negative net worth about 15 years ago, to becoming a multi-millionaire now.

In looking at how he did it, I can point to several different factors based on what I’ve heard over the years:

Genuinely Working Hard

He was not someone who simply clocked 40 hour weeks. He absolutely strove to be excellent at his work. At times, that did mean working more hours than his peers or what we be “expected” on the job. But it also meant working smart, and putting in the time to know how to do the job well and efficiently – no matter what the job.

Focusing on Education

He went back to school to get a graduate degree, from a globally premier school. He invested his time and some money to do so, and just as he did professionally, he worked hard. What he didn’t do is spend an arm and a leg to do so, as I believe his employer might have covered a sizable percentage of the cost. Now that’s a setup for a good ROI! Clearly, he understood the importance of education and net worth. Also, he gets that we must always look to keep on learning and improving ourselves.

Marrying Someone Who Gets It

How many marriages feature someone savvy with money being paired with someone who just doesn’t get it – and doesn’t care to understand, either? Wouldn’t that be a bummer? Thankfully for him, this wasn’t the case. He married someone smart who also works hard and is a responsible person. In reality, I should probably re-characterize this as how “they” accomplished it.

Keeping Healthy

This guy is highly physically fit, and has tremendously improved in this regard. This helps in several ways. First, he looks the part, which I’m sure can only help out one’s career. Second, and likely more important, it probably gives him the energy to focus, be productive, and make good decisions.  Not to mention that later in life, if you’re not healthy, you might not be able to work at all.

Avoiding Materialism

At one time this guy was much more materialistic. From clothes to cars, he would spend money for nice things. However, he has become wise – and simply doesn’t care to impress anyone with material items. He just doesn’t care about that, and has avoided Big Hat No Cattle syndrome.   Rather, he realizes that one must save early and often.  It’s something that has come up in conversation.

Striving to Achieve Long-Term Goals

This guy talks about not wanting to work late into life, and to able to be young enough to retire and be healthy enough to relax and travel. There is clearly a vision, and I’m sure there’s a plan to make that happen. He has a strong sense of direction in his financial life, and it shows.

Bottom Line: There are plenty of examples of people who have not been held back by their financial past, and have made changes in order to eventually put themselves in a much better position. To be fair, people can go the other direction too. But thinking positively, we can rewrite our financial story if we put our mind to it, work hard, and perhaps get some good luck to help us along the way.  We have to believe in ourselves!

My Questions For You

Have you ever thought about how your past experiences with money have shaped the way you think about it today?

Has there been a time when you have consciously tried to change your approach to managing your money?

Do you know anyone who has broken free of past financial situations to become very successful in this area?