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Why can't people just do it?

The anatomy of a good financial plan was a subject I recently discussed with ABC radio personality and hard-nosed judge on Network Seven's It Takes Two - James Valentine. And in doing so, James pondered the most profound of money questions that went to the depths of our core personality.
And the answer explains why some people end up rich, well off, comfortable, squeezed, struggling and plain poor. Ruling out bad luck, which can be countered by a smart insurance plan, I reckon our financial planning destiny is largely in our own hands, or more correctly, in our heads.
The accidental billionaire!
Sure, being a billionaire will be a stretch for most of us - even the best planned - but being comfortable to well off is very achievable for most Australians. Even being rich is not an unrealistic goal but it only starts when that's the goal! That's not to say that there aren't accidental millionaires and billionaires but I'd argue with these oddballs that it wasn't an accident, merely an indirect outcome or pay off from getting it right and beating the pain barrier in some other field of endeavour.
Good ol' Rusty
For example, Russell Crowe has become rich from acting but he probably wanted to be the best actor imaginable and, along the way, his success has brought the money.
But Rusty is in a very slim minority who indirectly get rich, but he is also in the minority who overcome the normal humanly characteristics that hold us all back in so many areas.
Weakness of the flesh
Hate to be brutal but most of us are challenged by any or even all of the following problems: over-eating; under-exercising; excessive drinking and under-planning. We live life in controlled chaos and fail to strive for order.
Small business coaches have something to offer all people because they operate off a maxim, which says that small business owners don't plan to fail but fail to plan. That applies to us all in just about everything we do.
Do the pain to get the gain
Sporting coaches also have a lot to offer anyone who wants to out-perform rivals or simply themselves when they encourage their athletes to take on the pain barrier.
Listening to top athletes, they often explain their success in terms of getting their preparation for the event right, but underpinning this is hard work where the body and mind beats the pain barrier to make the body perform exceptionally.
The role of the coach
I can't think of any athlete on the world stage that doesn't have a coach and this means the role of the objective set of eyes cannot be underestimated. When it comes to wealth building, the coach or financial planner, if trustworthy, can be vital for some personalities. Often they are those who can't beat the mental pain barrier of getting their money plan right or they are simply too time poor to do the job right. They simply outsource the job but many of us could create our own plan, but it would mean embracing a new and improved you.
A new start
My anatomy of a new plan starts where all financial plans, life plans, sporting plans and business plans kick off with working out your goals. Once those goals are locked in, it is time to look at reality. For the wealth builder it is taking stock of finances now and seeing if current income earning, saving and investing will make the goals happen.
It should be so easy
If they don't, that's when the ultimate test of a human being starts. This is where the first step to success or failure is made. Valentine actually physically gave off the typical, human, negative reaction to the next step and it sparked a reason to question our in-built programming to fail the wealth improvement test.
That step was - to do a budget! The word budget generates negativity just like the thought of 100 laps in an outdoor pool every morning and afternoon. Similarly, it's like the 20km run each day and four hours study each night that the state's top students put in for six years of high school.
Change the inputs
If you don't like the same old output, start putting in some new inputs and the best input to change is you!
A budget has to be done to see where your money is going. Out of this come decisions to spend smarter, to earn more and to invest better. These decisions will be the inputs that will drive better wealth outputs in the future.
It takes guts
But making decisions and committing to them are two different kettles of fish.
Let me remind you of New Year's resolutions and how long they last for.
A new and improved you will know the goals, will face the hard truth, will draw up the plan and will go through the 'pain' barriers to get it right.

Inside we have the capacity to delude ourselves to justify avoiding the pain that will improve us - that's deep baby, deep. But it goes to the heart of failure and success in just about everything we do. 

Published on: Wednesday, May 02, 2007

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