In the late ‘80s, I spent 12 months in the UK with Grandma. Every fortnight, she would walk to the local post office and collect her pension payment. On returning home, she would take five jars down from her kitchen cupboard, labelled: ‘Milkman’, ‘Gas’, ‘Electricity’, ‘Gifts’ and ‘Groceries’. Into each of these jars, Grandma would put a set amount of each pension payment. She knew exactly how much she needed to put in each Jar from each pay to to cover her bills as they arrived. She kept some incidental money in her wallet, and the rest she took to the bank the next morning.
This traditional, effective budgeting methodology has helped everyday people manage their money for hundreds of years and is just as effective today.
While it is not unusual for people to link budgeting with self-discipline, what most people don’t appreciate is that self-discipline is the core ingredient of success in just about any human endeavour. Whether we want to get fit, lose weight, pass our exams, become a good parent or succeed in our chosen career, they all require us to demonstrate self-discipline. Developing the ability to say ‘no’ to instant gratification, quick fixes and distractions is crucial to success in life.
True success in life is not about how much we can get but rather how much we can give. Generosity is about giving our time, energy, abilities and resources to serve others. Our experience is that generous people are more likely to be happy, content and thankful. Generous people tend to be focused on what they have got and not what they don’t. Our hope is that in giving people the tools and resources to master their own finances, they will be in a position to help others.
Our proudest moments in life almost always come as a result of hard work and perseverance. As with self-discipline, the ability to persevere is crucial if we are to succeed at anything worthwhile. Too often people use lack of ability, knowledge or experience as their excuse for their failures when, really, all that was needed was perseverance. There are very few endeavours in life where perseverance can’t overcome a lack of ability This is especially true when it comes to successful management of our financial affairs.
Too often we see the destructive impact that dishonesty has inflicted on the lives of our clients. There are no winners when it comes to dishonesty; someone is always hurt as result of it. When we take on new coaching clients, we always emphasise the importance of honesty: honesty with your coach, honesty with your partner and, most importantly, honesty with yourself. One of the biggest impediments to overcoming financial problems is a person’s inability to be honest with themselves. Being honest with ourselves allows us identify and then proactively address the root causes of our financial problems.
When things go wrong in our lives, we often find that our default response is to try and blame someone else. While pointing the finger is sometimes justified, it is never productive. When we choose to blame other people for our circumstances, failures and disappointments, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Taking personal responsibility for our actions, regardless of the outcome, is crucial to our personal growth and development. When we acknowledge the problem is ours, we proactively look for solutions to those problems and grow into better people as a result.