There are experts everywhere. I believe anyone can learn anything they want, if they find the right teacher. I believe if you really want to change and to improve your finances, you need to be teachable!
True change requires knowing that you don’t have all the answers. If I want to change, I need to find someone who can teach me what I need to know. If improving your finances is a high priority, it’s time to find experts to teach you how to change.
Most People Aren’t Willing to Be Taught. Be Teachable
It doesn’t make sense to take advice from someone who doesn’t have expertise. I’m not going to take financial advice from someone who clearly doesn’t have their own finances under control. When we made a goal to pay off $90,000 of student loans in five years, we read all kinds of articles from financial experts. We read Dave Ramsey, Millennial Money Man, Mr. Money Mustache, and any other successful finance blog we could find.
Then we started to make changes. We were inspired because we knew if others could do it, we could do it too! Be willing to seek help and make changes.
Changing Financial Habits is Hard!
Can you think of any financial habits you want to change? Have you tried changing it before? How’s that going? I think most people want to be financially independent. They want to make enough money to cover their expenses, get out of debt, probably save some, travel, and create a nice nest egg.
Of course I’m generalizing, but I don’t think anyone wants to have financial burdens or live paycheck to paycheck.
The truth is though, a lot of people live in debt and probably will for a good chunk of their lives. Why? Why do so many people continue to spend more than they earn? What causes people to continuously rack up crazy credit card debt? I think a big reason is due to science. Yep, sounds strange, but stay with me.
Change Your Financial Habits with Inertia
I’m not a big science guy, but for some reason the concept of inertia sticks in my head. It is Isaac Newton’s first law of motion and it states that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by another force. Also, an object in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an outside force.
If we think about change in this way, it makes sense why change is so hard. It’s easier to continue doing what you’re doing than make a change. It’s easier to keep your bad habits than stop and create new habits. Therefore it makes sense why someone keeps spending money instead of figuring out a way to save.
The great thing about inertia though is it works in the opposite way too! If you can work hard to create a new habit, you’ve successfully put yourself in motion with new inertia. You are officially in motion and will be more likely to stay in motion toward your goals.
Changing Takes Humility to Acknowledge There’s a Problem
If you truly want to change, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge there’s a problem you want to fix. Maybe you want to buy a house, but you are constantly buying stuff with a credit card and racking up debt. Before you make the decision to change, first you need to conclude that your current spending habits are getting in the way of your goals.
Nobody likes to be wrong and acknowledge their own weakness or insecurities. It’s confronting and goes against our nature to believe the best about ourselves. It’s like having the worst parts of yourself revealed to the world. Admitting there’s a problem takes humility. If you never admit you have a problem, you’ll never change.
I’m not saying you need to air out your dirty laundry and all your failings to people publicly. However, if you make a dramatic change, people are going to notice. For example, if you change your diet, your friends and family will notice and probably ask you about it.
When we stopped going out to eat a few years ago, people definitely noticed. We were basically forced to tell everyone about it. Our friends asked us to go out with them, so we had a choice to make. We could say “no” and stay at home. Or we could say “yes” but explain that we wouldn’t buy anything. Either way we had to let them in on our plan to change. And let me tell you, sometimes it was awkward!
In the end though, I’m glad we did it and waded through those conversations. Our friends quickly came around and it wasn’t a big deal.
Related Article: Why We Stopped Going Out to Eat
We Need to Have a Reason to Change and Stay Changed
The most important element to create real change is having a reason to change. Like I said before, inertia is a strong force. If you don’t have a strong goal forcing you to change, it will be harder to make new habits stick.
Our big goals were to buy a house and start a family. We knew we couldn’t do it with massive amounts of debt, I mean a kid needs to eat and have clothes right! There was no way we could juggle kids, a mortgage, and student loans with any hope of building retirement savings. Plus we have other financial goals like traveling!
Every time we felt down and out, or frustrated from constantly working and saving, we focused on the big picture. We knew we wouldn’t be in debt forever. Our future family was the force that got our butts into gear and put our goals in motion. In fact, we have little Baby Griffin coming next March. This little guy or girl will continue motivating us to set new goals and work hard to make it happen.
Related Article: The Reasons Why I Started a Blog
Wrapping It Up
What are you willing to change to become financially free? If you don’t have all the tools to change on your own, find people who can help you. Then be willing to be taught.
Let Me Know in the Comments
What are your current financial goals? How have you changed to reach your goals? Who is teaching you about money?