Have you ever noticed a car actually speeding up in order to beat you to a red light? A speed up to stop.
Or you might have noticed a slow driver in the left lane on a highway, creating a long caravan of cars, when the right lane would have met their needs perfectly.
But truthfully, you can see the same behaviors in how far too many people are all trying to meet their own undefined objective.
The fact is, these are subconscious behaviors spurred on by a need. It’s not rational. It’s just another example of human behavior.
When it comes to your money life, you probably behave in ways that defy reason (or at least a good reason).
For example, some people are money avoiders, and without thinking, will put off and delay making important decisions that impact their financial lives.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, others try to control every aspect of their money life; charting each nickel earned and spent; monitoring the stock market and reading every article pertaining to financial matters, regardless of the source or relevance.
It’s just people being human and operating on autopilot.
But like sitting behind the wheel, your money life deserves and requires your attention. As Simon Sinek says, “start with why.”
There needs to be a reason behind your action or your inaction, your attention or your avoidance. There is a justification for any of those possibilities, but it depends on the circumstances.
For example, if you are invested properly for the long-term, your minute-to-minute involvement is not required or recommended. Chances are, you will make a human mistake by over-thinking (which is the code word for “guessing”) and wind up worse off.
I am not recommending that people put their money lives on cruise control; set it and forget it.
Think of it this way. If you have a, you’ll excuse the word, driving purpose to your life, it’s easier to know what to look at and when. Consider the following:
1. Begin with purpose (your values and life goals).
2. Understand WHY it’s vitally important to you and all stakeholders.
3. Work with experts who can provide guidance. (I don’t know about you, but I am not crawling under my car with wrenches and assorted tools to fix something.) It isn’t important or necessary for you to do it yourself, but you wouldn’t hand your mechanic or anyone a blank check without understanding what is being done and why.
4. Understand which aspects need attention and when. For example, you probably don’t need to review your insurance coverages more than once a year.
5. Create a checklist, reminder or schedule to review the progress of your plan. Even your car needs tires rotated, wiper blades changed, and brakes replaced.
6. When unexpected life transitions occur, consider how it impacts the rest of your plan. If your wheels are out of alignment, chances are you’re going to wear out your tires pretty quickly.
7. Retest your purpose periodically. Make sure the desired destination is still where you want to go. Think Financial GPS.
The point is, when it comes to your money life, being purposeful is really important. When our behaviors occur without thought or mindful consideration, we just “do” or “don’t do.” It’s no way to get to where you want to go. And for gosh sake, STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!