My Big Financial Downfall: Taking My Eye Off The Ball

My Big Financial Downfall: Taking My Eye Off The Ball

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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