Self - August 15, 2018

How to Improve Your Personal Idea of Wealth

If y’all have been following along for a while, especially on Stories, then you know that one of my goals for 2018 was to get better at finances. Honestly, as someone in my late twenties, I’m somewhat embarrassed that it’s taken me this long. On the flip side, though, it’s made me realize I’m not alone.

Which is why I’m super excited to work with Charles Schwab to bring you more finance content today – because y’all have told me you want it! I’m taking notes from their Modern Wealth campaign about personal wealth. It’s actually really cool – the Charles Schwab team has basically made it their current mission to find out what wealth means to people across our nation. What I thought was really interesting is 1. how different people’s answers were and 2. that I had actually NEVER thought about this personally. I mean, what the heck DOES personal wealth mean to me? I didn’t even know.

What Does Personal Wealth Mean To Me?

After a few days of thinking about it (y’all know it takes me days to get out my thoughts), I realized my personal wealth sounds something like this.

It means being able to be spontaneous and pay a little extra for a flight given a good opportunity (like when a friend invites you to their vacation home when you really need a break), affording to take time away from your computer aka work for me, seeing new places, or being able to overnight a dress for a date with a boy because the one you ordered on time doesn’t fit.

Now, maybe that sounds silly to you, but that’s the cool part here – we’re all different!

What Does Personal Wealth Mean To You?

Personal wealth really comes down to experiences and ease of life for me, but as their Modern Wealth Index study points out, it can mean anything from having a number in your bank account to leaving money for your children to a certain job title. Maybe you haven’t thought about it before either (#same!), but isn’t it cool too? I’d urge you to take some time to think! When do you feel happiest? When do you feel most content? What times do you worry vs. not worry about money? Just some ideas to get you there!

If y’all are reading from Dallas, I thought it was interesting to read the highest majority defines personal wealth as peace of mind (aka not necessarily a number) and spending time with family. Kinda cool right??

4 Ways To Improve Your Personal Wealth

I dove deeper into the Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Index  and their study on personal wealth to see how I could improve my own (experiences and ease) and also what they based their study on. It came down to four things they assessed, which actually are also great stepping stones to improving your own version of wealth. I thought it’d be fun to share those with y’all today and talk about how they can help. Because no matter what it means to y’all, we all want to be wealthier in some capacity right? Here are 4 ways to improve yours:

Goal Setting

Once you figure out what personal wealth means to you (you can go here for more ideas and even a quiz that’ll help), it’s time to set some goals. Studies show that people who physically write out goals end up doing better with them, so I’d start there. If you share finances with someone, it’d be smart to talk about what personal wealth means to you both and then set some personal and group goals.

For me, this means having a bank account set up just for “experiences and ease” – something that I don’t feel guilty about dipping into vs. a savings for my retirement. What goals do you have that support your idea of personal wealth? Write them out and be specific! Charles Schwab also suggests to be realistic, review your plan at least annually and make changes as your life circumstances change, so keep all those in mind.

Saving and Investing

The goals are the fun part and then this is when you have to start getting things done (and it’s not always as easy). At least this is the hard part for me. But OMG, getting a “money guy” as I call him aka a financial advisor has been life-changing y’all. I don’t know why it took me so long to invest in my money this way, but WOAH, #worth it. Especially if you don’t even know where to start with investing or what types of saving plans you should have, this is the time to talk to someone at Charles Schwab or in your own community.

What’s really helped me is having multiple savings accounts that pertain to my goals. I’ll also say that once you start investing, it’s like ripping off a band-aid (it’s not as scary when someone is giving professional guidance). There’s so much that I could go into here, from building a diverse portfolio to minimizing taxes, but that’s for another article. This resource is really cool though if you want to hear more right now, and I recommend thinking of things like your risk (aka a lot of things you might not have known before).

Staying on track

The Modern Wealth Index study shows that this is where Americans have the hardest time and it’s not hard to see why. It can be tricky! Again, this resource is rad for more pointers, but the ones I took away most were to stay engaged with your investments (aka check in regularly and make changes when needed) and to stay focused on your plan. Markets go up and down, but if you stay focused on the long-end game, you can usually come out on top if you’re being smart – which I needed to hear when I started investing and saving.

I also find that having an accountability partner (which is my dad ha!) really helps me here. I like external expectations but money is private, so I find that having someone I can trust to talk about these things is invaluable. Plus he can call me out for spending on things that don’t support what personal wealth means to me or when I start comparing that to others who may have different goals!

Confidence in reaching financial goals

This is the last factor that went into the study and the area that Americans were the most confident with funny enough. Though the actions might be the hardest part (staying on track), it’s cool that people (millennials especially) are feeling knowledgeable with their goals – and that they can reach them! The study does show that if you aren’t confident about your goals, writing them down is a really good place to start since that usually indicates forming a successful plan. So much so that the study shows that 93% of planners are confident to reach their #goals, and non-planners are only 59% confident. SO SET THOSE GOALS AND WRITE THEM DOWN, FRIENDS! I’d also suggest talking to a financial advisor if you have no confidence with future goals.

OK, I’ll stop there because I could really go on forever. This stuff FIRES ME UP lately and I just feel so much more #adult and confident after spending time with my finances this year. No, it’s not fun when it’s sunny outside and brunch is calling, but the peace of mind really trumps that for me. I’d highly recommend checking out this whole study and the resources from Charles Schwab if you want to learn more!

A few questions for y’all! Did y’all find this interesting? Want to hear more about money? Did you stop and think about what personal wealth means to you? I’d love to hear – and if you feel like sharing on social media, use #MyModernWealth. It’s a really cool hashtag that actually got me inspired when thinking of my own definition of personal wealth.

This post is sponsored by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc (Schwab).