There's few things as painful as the consistent stress of finances. Money troubles can create a sense of drowning and all too often we simply submit to it. I read in Malcom Gladwell's awesome new book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants a U-Curve exists for us in our regards to how much money we make and how happy we are. You might need to read this quote twice:
The scholars who research happiness suggest that more money stops making people happier at a family income of around seventy-five thousand dollars a year.
I know a lot of people who make a combined income higher than $75K but the financial struggle is real for them. And more often than not the complaint that follows the issue is there simply isn't enough income! This is backwards thinking and I have been there plenty of times. For example, I saw a significant increase of pay in 2002 because of a promotion. What was the first thing I did when the paycheck increased? I went out and bought a brand new SUV because I thought there was room for a car payment. And there was but the car payment kept other things from happening, like vacations, a savings account, finances for home repairs, and investing. But I was driving a sweet new SUV getting 13 miles to the gallon.
Since our personal lives can fall to the thought, "There is an income shortage," we can also fall into the same trap as organizational leaders. "There simply isn't enough revenue." "If we don't raise more money then..." I'm not trying to make light of financial problems in our organizations either, I'm arguing we have a tendency to be more concerned with whats coming in instead of taking a good hard look at what we're spending.
Would you like to see a financial turn around personally or as a leader? The quickest way to change your financial situation is to change your spending. Try some of these ideas:
1. Look for unnecessary spending - Are there things in your life you paying for because of brand name? Brand names are often more about how we feel about ourselves then they are about the product. "Do we have the right things to look like we financially do well?" If this happens in your personal life it's probably happening in your organizational leadership.
2. Kill sacred cows - Believe it or not, the grocery store for some people is a sacred cow. The reason a grocery store becomes a sacred cow is because it's comfortable and spending less money and shopping in a new place is uncomfortable but so is massive debt. "I couldn't get any work done without an office," Is not an uncommon thing to hear from an organizational leader but work space is often a sacred cow. But is the argument true or is it uncomfortable to find a new way to work? I've been there. For the last two years I've been office-less. It took me about a year to get adjusted but now I have a hard time imagining going to work in the same spot every day.
3. Be willing to sacrifice - It's almost painful to write but it may be the best thing you can do, sacrificing things or money for a short time will have a reward. But hear me on this - SACRIFICE IS SEASONAL. I know it feels like it could be never ending. That you will always have to do without but these things simply aren't true. When you make smart financial sacrifice in one season the next season can have lots of financial reward. Don't let the lie creep into your brain that you will always feel this hurt. Be willing for a season to sacrifice.
I love the start of a new month, especially looking at finances because its a new opportunity to do better. I feel this personally and I feel it as an organizational leader. Becoming financially healthier is like chiseling a statue. Day after day, week after week, and month after month you have to keep hammering to get where you need to be. The question is are you willing to chisel away at your spending in order to become more financially successful in the coming months?