How do you know when you have enough? Is this one of those questions that has no answer? No, it depends on you! If you think this is a diatribe on savings, forget about it! I am talking about happiness! Nirvana! Financial Freedom! Are you interested? Personal and financial achievements are important parts of my life. It should be yours too.
You graduated college, earned a graduate or professional degree, completed an apprentice program or some other post secondary training program. You may or may not have graduated first in your class, attended an Ivy League school, have student debt or even a job, but you are on top of the world because you are done with your training. You are ready to take on the world! The economy is still tough out there particularly for the new graduates. You have a lot of goals and plans, but you have to wait.
We are thought of to be consumers and all the advertising makes us want things that have not even been created yet. How did we ever get along without a iPod, iphone and iPad? I don’t know, but there were generations that did quite well without computers, cellular phones and downloaded music. This is why I raise the question enough is enough! How do you know when you do not need it or when you have enough savings to retire, start a business, when to quit your day job or achieve financial freedom?
When you start a diet, do you have a goal in mind? Of course you do! It may be a certain weight or clothing size. It lets you know if you achieved your goal or not. It helps you monitor and measure your progress to your goal. The more you can clarify your goal, the more likely you will achieve your goal. This is true for any goal. How much do you need to retire? There are lots of programs to tell you not only how much you need as a goal, but how much to invest each month to achieve it.
Following the diet example, you would monitor your weight loss by weighing yourself every day. You would monitor what you eat or your diet daily as well. By monitoring your progress, you can make adjustments to your routine to change or achieve the desired results (milestones). Hold yourself accountable for your efforts and the changes you need to make to achieve your goal. Monitoring may mean a chart, list or some other form of record. It provides an objective view of your progress and an opportunity to assess yourself. Adjusting your efforts related to your progress is the difference of success and failure.
Continuing the weight loss example, you are losing weight each week, but it only one pound. You are making progress, but it is too slow of a weight loss. Evaluating your progress may mean adding exercise or changing your diet. Evaluation is the next step in monitoring your progress. You evaluate whether your effort is sufficient to reach your goal. You make changes in your effort and evaluate the results. This is the most important aspect of your progress.
If you want to lose twenty-five (25) pounds, it is clear whether you made it or not. Unfortunately, too many goals are not that clear. In weight loss, diet does not work by itself and it certainly is not enough to maintain your weight. Setting a goal of weight loss, nest egg, down payment or other things need to be very specific. $12K Will Make You Rich is one example of creating a financial goal and having a plan to achieve it. If you can quantify your goal, It is much easier to achieve it. The associated plan helps you monitor, adjust and evaluate your goal. A goal without a plan is just a wish.
How do you know when have enough? It could be weight loss, retirement, financial freedom or anything else! You need to quantify your goal which can be done using programs from Vanguard or Fidelity to name two sources. Having a goal is the first step, but you must monitor, adjust and evaluate your results or progress to your goal. Life is dynamic and changes over time, you must monitor your progress or you will not reach your goal. You cannot just set it and forget it! Whether it is weight loss, stock market performance or your career, there is no autopilot. How do you know when have enough?
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