Priority Proceeds Progress

A story of our priorities during the financial crisis

In the 2007-08 financial crash, our family fell on some pretty rough times. There were many families in the same circumstances in SWFL.  My husband was in the construction business, and I was a commissioned based investment advisor. Our incomes slashed 80% or more, over that two-year span. Six months of savings doesn’t go very far when the bleeding continues for over two years.  It didn’t take us long to figure out what our priority was when it came to our finances. Gone was the private school for our daughter, the designer label clothes, horse camping trips and everything that wasn’t a necessity.  Setting our priorities was easy. When the money did come in our priorities were: mortgage, electricity, food.

While I don’t wish a similar scenario on anyone, I would love to somehow instill the lesson of precedence to everyone that might read this.  I hear people all the time say “I want to save more,” “I want to be more generous,” or “I want to get out of debt.” In the same fashion, they might utter “I want to win the lottery.” It’s more of a wish than a priority. Priority is something given special attention; given precedence over things in order; it gets done first. If savings is a priority like a mortgage/rent, it should come out at the beginning of the week/month, not the end. The same thing with giving, investing or getting out of debt. Show me the monthly total (debt reduction, giving, savings), and I’ll tell you how much of a priority it is.

Show me the monthly total and I’ll tell you how much of a priority it is. tweet

What are your financial priorities

Of course, I understand this doesn’t apply to people in a financial crisis like we were. Crisis always makes priorities pretty straight forward. However, for the most of us cruising through Starbucks often, hopping online to buy the latest thing or just not being mindful about where our money is going. This message is for those readers. To see progress towards your financial dreams and desires you have to set it as a priority. Priority always proceeds progress.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on your finances. In particular think about the area that you want more (or less of) savings, debt, or giving.

  1. Take a moment to glance over your recent transactions. Do the transactions reflect in any way the financial priority you desire?
  2. Consider taking a fast from something that is taking precedence over what you want to make your true financial priority. Perhaps a month of skipping Starbucks to see your savings account grow or deciding to give the amount of your monthly cable bill to your favorite charity.
  3. What other actions can you take to turn your “want” into real action?

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