The first step in the system is about getting clear on what you want (your goals), why that is important to you (your values), where you are now (your starting point) and the obstacles (your roadblocks) you'll need to overcome to get what you want.
Now you may think this seems a bit too basic to be beneficial. Or you may feel like you know what you want and what you need to do and so skipping this step may appear like a "good" idea. But before you do that, I'd suggest you look at the results you've gotten so far when it comes to your Financial Planning. If from doing that you feel you'd like to see a change for the better, than all I can say is that you need to change for the better first yourself. And that requires doing things differently to how you've done them in the past, starting with how you approach understanding yourself.
The reason why this is so important, and the crucial first step, is because without knowing all of the above about yourself, how can you put together the best plan to progress towards what you really want? How will you know what action to take or the behaviours to adopt?
Think of it like cooking a nice meal. Before you start cooking, it’s probably a good idea to know exactly what you want to cook, why you want to cook it in a certain way, what ingredients and equipment you have, what ingredients and equipment you’ll need as well as the time you need and what you’re willing to work around and not work around to bring your creation to life. Once you know all that, it’s much easier to make a plan for getting it done.
So often, people ask me flippant money related questions such as;
"What should I invest my money in?"
"What’s better, shares or property?"
"How much should I save each week?"
Unfortunately for these people my answer is always the same; I don’t know enough about you to give you a specific answer.
The reason I say that is because it’s the truth. To me, money is an enabler. It’s a tool used to live the life you want. Until I know the life you want to live as well as the life you currently live, I won’t know what strategies are best for you? I won’t know what the gaps are or how to best get you where you want to go.
Going back to the cooking example, it’s like asking me what ingredients you should buy when I don’t know what meal you’re trying to cook or what ingredients you already have available.
And that is why Awareness is the starting point in the system. It provides the context for everything else that comes thereafter. Once you have this level of Awareness, only then can you complete the following steps correctly.
Which leads me to the next post in the series - Step 2) Planning.