Lately I have been thinking about, and questioning, the way in which we set our priorities. Listening to my friends, it struck me that we think about priorities as more stable and persistent than these ought to be if we really move through life. This got me thinking about the way in which my financial health priorities are changing.
I also realised that without recognising the changeable nature of our priorities. we can really ‘get ourselves in a rut’ – keeping rigidly to the priorities we have today, prevents us from thinking about the ones we could set tomorrow; this in turn overshadows our ability to learn and act for tomorrow. This is probably best illustrated by an example, and risking for this to become a habit, the example is from my experience.
Thinking back, after I grasped the seriousness of the financial situation we were in, my first priority was containment – this is when some fast and hard actions and decisions have to be made. These usually boil down to looking at your budgeting and ensuring that you don’t get in more debt; decreasing your expenditure and increasing your income to make sure that debt repayment is accelerated; changing your mentality and habits to make sure that you stay on course, etc. Within a couple of months, though, we have managed to contain the situation so a change of focus was necessary.
Our second priority became recovery – this is a combination between speedy debt re-payment and building additional, and sustainable, income streams. At this moment, we are months away from re-paying all our consumer debt and have managed to build a couple of income streams. These are very handy for speeding up repayments and for building up a bit of savings. There are two problems though: a) I am not sure how sustainable these income streams are; and b) these still need considerable time and work on our side. This brings me to my new priority, which is investing.
Building wealth for the future – and in our case this will have to be done pretty speedily – needs one to be able to invest; and invest in things other than our houses (you know what I think about this one, right?) or/and our pensions. Yes, I know that traditionally this is where most of the wealth in the UK is, but the world is changing and so should we. This is why I have been putting all this time in, learning about investing.
What are your priorities and have they changed?