If you’re single, is it 2x the effort to reach your financial goals?
A MoneySmart Guest Blog
Being told that I could never do it on my own actually motivated me. Those who voiced this belief were probably expressing their own fears. I am sharing the lessons I learned on how to manage my finances by myself after finishing my undergraduate during a recession. These lessons are now my habits.
I follow the motto ‘If there is a will, there must be a way‘, and I set out to find it. I believed I would reach my goals, even if it involved having to adjust my timeline.
When I started my career, I enjoyed my field, and was willing to work extra to supplement my income. I formed my own fitness health business as a side- gig and eventually, reached a point where I invested my full-time income and lived off my part time income.
I waited longer than most of my friends to travel and buy a home, and instead took time to learn more about my financial habits, research my options, and get a supportive team in place, which included a financial planner, accountant, lawyer and realtor. I met many positive role models along the way. I ended up being one of the youngest in my circle of friends to retire (which I did soon after turning 58).
Along the way, others continued to give me unsolicited advice, and I became more private and selective about who I shared my goals with.
I started paying more attention to my purchases, and would always think about the lost opportunity cost. What else could I do with this money? Am I getting the best price and paying for quality? I found that sometimes cheaper is not better, but many times it is. I still price shop for everything, I’ll admit, because I like saving and being an informed consumer.
I kept two financial journals: one to track what I was spending and one to record how much I was saving (even if it was a small amount, it grew over time).
I asked myself if my purchase was truly a need or want. Although I believe in treating myself, I didn’t want to spend money on items I didn’t need or use. Now, I focus on decluttering and reducing waste.
I was prepared for setbacks with the money I had tucked away for a rainy day.
I discovered numerous free activities in my city and the communities I visit. When they aren’t free, I look for discount coupons (there are lots available online these days) and non-peak times to take in shows and travel. Everyone needs to find their balance of work and play.
Over the years I have kept a picture I cross stitched during my undergraduate that reminds me to Dream big, plan well, smile always, and good things will happen.
– Ardelle Harrison is a Toronto-based investor, entrepreneur, and co-author of “Bank on Yourself: Why every woman should plan financially to be single even if she is not.” Amazon.