Learning how to deal with your finances is a lot like juggling. To show you just how difficult and frustrating it is, enjoy this little gem of me learning how to juggle five or so years ago (while listening to German Christmas music):
I know. I’m a goober. Anyway, if you’re just learning how to do all this stuff, it’s hard. There are a lot of different things you have to keep in the air when it would be easier to just let the balls drop and stop trying to figure it out. If you do that, though, there are going to be some serious repercussions in the future. So here are some juggling tips for all of you beginners, and even for some of you more advanced folk who sometimes get tired of keeping it up.
Anyone can learn
Juggling isn’t rocket science. It’s just a matter of learning the coordination necessary to keep it going. No one was born with juggling skillz, although some were born with a little better handle on coordination. But coordination does not a master juggler make. With practice, anyone could be a master juggler if they really wanted to and put in the hard work to do it. The same goes for your personal finances. Some people were born with a saving personality, but that doesn’t necessarily make them good money managers. You could be a great saver a lot on some things only to waste it on others. So no matter where you’re at or what your financial behaviors are, you can learn how to be a financial rockstar.
Try not to focus on the balls in the air
In juggling, you would think that in order to keep the balls in the air, you have to concentrate on the balls themselves. But if you do that, you’ll never become good at it because you physically can’t focus on all three balls at the same time. The only way you can do it is by looking straight ahead. When you do this, you can see the big picture as you keep all three balls in your periphery vision.
As far as your finances go, it’s easy to get so focused on doing one thing that you forget about the rest. There are hundreds of different financial tools you can use and even more ways to use them. So the easiest way to keep it going is to keep the big picture in mind. If you focus too much on budgeting for the sake of budgeting, it’s not going to contribute to your financial security the way you want it to. Setting goals so that budgeting fits into your holistic plan helps you keep everything in your periphery and you’re less likely to drop something.
Practice, practice, practice
I can’t remember how long it took me to become comfortable with juggling, but it was a long time. And about 99.9% of the time, I was frustrated because a) things weren’t going the way I wanted to, b) I was somehow unable to be consistent, and c) juggling was stupid. Of course, it’s not really stupid. I whip out my skillz every now and then and amaze the people around me who never knew I was so cool. But while I was learning, it was stupid because it was hard. I sometimes wondered if it was even worth it to learn.
Of course, you may feel the same way about things like budgeting, insurance and saving. There are a lot of times I wish I could spend all my money now and have what I need in the future. But it just doesn’t work that way. Just like the consequence of not knowing how to juggle is being less cool, the consequence of not being on top of your financial plan means no security. And being financially secure is up there on the same coolness level as juggling. If you don’t believe me, just watch this guy go.
Any of you have experiences with juggling? Or frustrations with trying to keep making the right financial decisions?