How long has it been since you looked through one of those old photo books that your mom keeps on the shelf at home? If your like me it’s been a while! But just imagine flipping through the pages, looking back at your childhood. There are probably a few pictures of your first day at school and that trip you took to six flags on family vacation. Ah nostalgia… wait a minute, this is a personal finance blog. What does picture books and warm fuzzy feelings have to do with financial success? Everything.
Do you remember how good it felt the last time you paid off an auto loan? How about the last time you paid for all your Christmas gifts with cash you had been saving all year? It feels awesome! There is almost no better feeling than when you make some really great financial decisions. The problem comes when people forget that great feeling and quickly try to go out and rack up new debt. Rather than taking some time to bask in the glory of debt free living they immediately go out and finance a new car!
I think the key to continual success comes from trying to constantly stay in that realm of debt free nostalgia. You have to reflect on the great decisions you have made in order to continue to make them in the future. Maybe it should be as literal as taking a picture with your paid off car, or snapping a print screen of your zero credit card balance at the end of the month – that way you can go back in a few months to find inspiration!
I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, his book “Total Money Makeover” single handedly inspires me to continue to blaze the trail to financial success. I literally try to re-read his book a least once a year and I reference his concepts every single day. The day I read Dave’s book marked a significant point in my life when understanding just clicked for me. I already had the head knowledge, but it took the personal stories and his no nonsense approach for me to find the application.
I use “Total Money Makeover’ as a reflection tool for my own life. I take that time to see where I have come from and where I am now. It’s just like an exercise routine, if you don’t know what you looked like before you started then it is going to be really hard to see results as you go so you can stay motivated all the way until the end.