Guest post by Tatiana Cyrile Alvarez-Castro a Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner
Before I begin to share with you the learnings in my journey to financial success, I would like to share with you 3 principles that are guiding me in this path to success.
1. There is only one limited commodity on earth and that is time. We are all given 24 hours in a day. Other people are more successful because they are willing to do more, learn more and be more given the same limited resource.
2. There is abundance of resources all around us.
3. We can only accomplish something when we can. Decide when we can. Do when we can. All of us will reach that time when we cannot anymore.
You may choose to read the whole article from top to bottom or just choose one learning and put the article down. I have learned that the best way to really learn is by absorbing bits and pieces at a time, chewing on that piece and savoring the flavor. Decide then if you want to swallow it or spit it out. I am suggesting this because I also did not learn the top 5 things in one sitting. It involved different events and evolving belief systems in the duration of my life.
Here now are my top 5:
Awareness of where I am and where I want to go.
Financial Success is the destination. In order to go there, you first need to know where that is by defining what is financial success for you. We all have our unique description of what that is.
These are a few of my descriptions of my destination:
(a) Affording quality and quantity time with my family.
(b) Having 2 vehicles. One for my husband and one for me.
(c) Having a house that is in a nice location near the church, hospital, school and mall.
(d) Being able to send my son to the school with high standards where tuition is usually high.
(e) Travel abroad once a year as a family.
(f) Local travels with the family at least 3 times a year.
(g) Affording to give significantly to charity or someone in need anytime.
I also need to know where I am as of the moment. These are a few questions I need to answer.
How much am I earning? — I am earning X number of pesos.
Can I afford now what I listed earlier? — Not all of them as of the moment.
How much more do I need to earn?
How much do I need to set aside?
If I cannot afford it now? Am I willing to do something about it?
What you focus on, expands. Focus on the problem, the problem gets bigger or more will come. It is like a carrying a glass of water. The longer you carry it, the heavier it feels. Focus, instead, on finding a solution and you will marvel at what you can accomplish. Set an appointment with yourself and allow yourself to go deep into thought. Ask yourself what you can do and list down all that come into mind. Do you still have time to spare to earn more? Do you need to change jobs or look for an additional source of income? Are you happy where you are? Do we need to find ways to fall in-love with what you do all over again for you to be more productive? Studies have shown that you are more productive at work when you like what you do. You may also want to list down your talents. It may be another source of income.
(3) Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is a crucial part of financial success. Delayed gratification is putting off satisfaction for the short-term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long-term. Example, I love going to the movies at least once a week. Instead of going to the movies 4 times a month with my family, we will just limit it to 2 times a month. A movie date would usually cost around 1,000 including the food. In lessening the movie dates from 4 to 2 in a month, I would have 2,000 to re-allocate every month and set it aside for one of my future plans like having a comfortable retirement. I may also choose to save and invest the 2,000 every month for five years and withdraw it later for a dream vacation with my family.
(4) Seek Counsel
Always have somebody better than you to ask about the different areas in your life. In marriage, talk to somebody who is happily married. In book-keeping and taxes, seek advice or services from an expert. When going into a work-out, it is best to seek a trainer or coach to get the best routine for your preference and body type. In finances, it is also best to seek advise from an expert or from someone you know who is doing better than you. Even financial advisors need advise from other financial advisors to get a better perspective and clearer picture. Doctors need other doctors as a barber needs another barber to get a decent haircut.
Everybody can earn more. The best way to start is through education. It is the best investment that has the potential to double or triple your income.
You can start with free education. There are free seminars, on-line articles, shows on t.v., video clips on youtube and more that offer trainings on finances, how to handle money, how to improve your craft, and how to be better at whatever you do.
When you have the funds, you can put more value into what you do by buying books, attending paid trainings, and earning yourself an additional title.
Keep your options open. When somebody says, “open-minded ka ba?”, you may want to listen. It may be what you are looking for. Just be careful to separate the decent ones from the scams. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. It is faster to learn that way as compared to waiting for the best time when you have already mastered something. Remember that experience it the best teacher and learning from other peoples experience is even better because you will not have to go through the mistakes they have gone through.
After listing down all the things that I learned, I can say that financial success is also a journey as much as it is a destination. You are also successful every time you learn more, grow more and be more of what you are. You are successful also when your increase in personal value increases the value of another person.
Tatiana Cyrile Alvarez-Castro is a self-confessed student of life. She considers every situation a learning experience.
Her parents have been in the wealth creation, preservation and risk-management business since she was three years old. She decided to join the same industry her parents are in when she was 32 years old.
Now 7 years in the practice of being a financial advisor, and 3 years as a unit manager; she still welcomes new learnings from diverse fields to be a more effective advisor and leader. Last year, she graduated as a Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner.