I’m here to confess my biggest personal financial downfall. Here’s the thing: I know a decent amount about personal finance. If someone asks me how to save, budget, earn more, etc., then I can confidently answer. Moreover, I know a little bit here and there about bigger topics like loans and investing and cryptocurrency. And yet, my own finances often end up in a slight bit of a shame. And here’s the reason: I regularly take my eye off the ball.
What It Means To Financially Take My Eye Off The Ball
It’s probably ridiculous that I’m using a sport metaphor, since I’ve never played organized sports. Heck, I really never played unorganized sports. I could say instead that I fail to “keep my eye on the prize.” That, too, however, is a bit awkward. I don’t have a lot of sense of competition in me. I honestly don’t really care who gets the prize. And that, I suppose is the crux of the problem.
Financially taking my eye off of the ball means that I have a general goal, and I work towards it, sort of, but I often get distracted along the way.
How This Shows Up
This shows up in basically any area of life where I benefit from goal-setting. Naturally, this includes lots of financial aspects of life. For example, some goals one might set:
- Staying within a budget
- Earning a certain income
- Saving a specific amount of money for emergencies, retirement, or some goal in between
- Paying off debt
Those are just a few examples. I know that a financially savvy person sets goals for each of those things. Then they figure out a path to achieving those goals. And if they keep their eye on the ball, barring unexpected events, they achieve those goals. I know this. I understand how to do it. And yet, often I don’t.
When This Shows Up In My Finances
This generally shows up for me when I’m feeling financially comfortable. For example, when I’m struggling to earn more than I spend, I buckle down. I focus briefly on setting and achieving a goal. Usually this includes some combination of earning more money and cutting back on spending.
The nature of my work as a freelancer, however, is that money ebbs and flows. So, what often happens, is that a lean period is followed by a rich period. I get a big windfall of money all at once. THAT is when I tend to take my eye off of the ball. I don’t feel the pressure, so I forget the bigger goals. I’ll worry about them “tomorrow.”
Why This Is a Problem
I’m responsible with my finances. I never pay my bills late. Moreover, I do have some money in savings and in retirement. So, what’s the problem? Well, the problem is that I never get ahead. Inevitably, I reach a fallow work period. Then I have to set those same old goals yet again just to make ends meet. While I achieve the basic goals (staying on top of my bills,) I never get around to the real life goals of more financial freedom. So, I want to get better about actually monitoring my goals and holding myself accountable to them.
Do you struggle with keeping your eye on the financial ball?
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Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer who loves to live a balanced life. She appreciates a good work-life balance. She enjoys balance in her relationships and has worked hard to learn how to balance her finances to allow for a balanced life overall. Although she’s only blonde some of the time, she’s always striving for total balance. She’s excited to share what she’s learned with you and to discover more together along the way.