Welcome to Day 18 of the 30-Day Financial Wellness Challenge.
Each day will comprise of financial exercises, some short and others a bit longer, to help you become financially fit. The goal is to tackle different aspects of personal finances one day at a time.
After the 30 days, you’ll have a stronger understanding of your financial health and an action plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Review Day 17: Identify Core Values
In Phase 3, we are addressing the following areas:
|Vision||Sets your direction.||What is your future life like?|
|Values||Categorizes what’s important.||What are your priorities?|
|Mission||Plans to achieve your vision.||What are your life goals?|
|Goals||Goals supporting your mission||What are your financial goals?|
Do you struggle with setting goals or making financial decisions? Many do and often the culprit is the inability to align goals to core values and connect to life’s vision. Choosing a life mission can help you by focusing your time, resources, and money on clear objectives that move you forward.
On Day 18, you’ll learn about life missions and financial strategies.
In the past two days, you’ve learned about vision statements and core values. You’re now able to set a direction towards your ideal life and aware of the values that inform your behaviors.
Typically, when I start speaking about visions and values, some people may not see the connection. Sometimes people will ask me to jump into the tactics. Sure, tactics are great and I have plenty of them but often tactics are not enough to change the trajectory of your life. We need direction (Vision), a clear idea of our motivations (Core Values), and missions that turn lofty visions into concrete objectives.
Today, I’m going to introduce you to missions and strategies. A mission is an objective of how you will achieve your vision. Strategies are a series of ways of using the mission to achieve the vision (the why).
What is the mission?
Missions are the ambitious, yet achievable position that supports your vision. They are, in fact, the more concrete and measurable aspects of your vision statement. Missions are long-term objectives achieved through strategy, goal setting, and tactical plans. In shorter terms, a mission is “the what”.
So what do you want to accomplish?
You have the opportunity to create your own missions. As an example, I pursue or have pursued the following missions in my life:
These missions helped make my bold vision for life more realistic.
Let’s revisit my vision statement which is: Living a life of freedom to pursue work of positive impact around the world.
In order to live this vision, I chose missions to live better and achieve debt-freedom. I surmised if I lived better I’d be at my very best and become a role model for others pursuing a better life. That’s one way I can have a positive impact.
Additionally, I realized my debt was holding me back. Being debt-free allows me to freely choose work because they are meaningful and not solely for monetary gain. This mission was another way to achieve my vision.
Having missions also became filters. I’ve been presented opportunities that seemed to support my vision for a positive impact in the world. So, I’ll determine if the opportunity helps serve my personal mission to live better. In some instances, the opportunity would add more complexity to my life. A complex opportunity doesn’t support my mission to live better. If I’m too busy managing a complex opportunity, then I won’t have the time and energy to move forward on my other goals.
But missions are more than filters, they are the milestones along the journey to your vision.
How to create and choose a mission
Similar to other planning techniques, you’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions. Things like:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What are those long-term goals?
For example, you might have identified your debt-to-income ratio was high, your credit score lower than you’d like, and your income has been stagnant for years. You can choose a Career Mobility mission that will help you get a better paying job. With an increase in pay, you can pay down debt faster and improve your credit score.
When you choose a mission you’ll need a strategy “the how” in achieving the objective. For the purpose of this challenge, I’m going to focus on financial strategy.
What is a financial strategy?
Financial strategy is how you plan to achieve the financial aspects of your mission. And each strategy can have multiple goals. I’ll go over goal setting in the next challenge.
The main premise of a strategy is asking the question, how do you plan to achieve your mission?
Let’s take the debt-freedom mission. Your strategies can include:
- prioritizing different types of debt for repayment
- increasing income to pay more towards debt
- paying less in interest for existing debt
Don’t confuse strategies for goals. As you can see these are broad and not very specific or measurable (2 attributes of goals).
Strategies can make something that seems insurmountable to achieve a bit more doable. Basically, you’re taking a big idea and breaking it into more actionable parts.
For instance, to achieve debt-freedom you can prioritize repayment of unsecured debt first before tackling the mortgage. Or you can find ways to supplement your income to pay more towards debt. Or you can consider refinancing or consolidation as an option to lower interest on loans.
All these strategies can work and you can certainly employ them all at once or allow yourself to gradually implement a strategy to not overwhelm yourself.
In the coming days, we’ll cover goals and tactics as it relates to specific financial situations.
Day 18 Assignment
Today, as an exercise I want you to choose one mission and think about strategies.
- Choose a mission or create your own.
- Relate that mission to areas you’ve identified during the financial health checkup and financial past evaluations.
- Think more broadly as opposed to tactically.
|What do you want to accomplish?|
|What is one long term goal you have?|
|Why does this particular mission relate to you?|
- Based on the mission you’ve chosen, what strategies can you determine is needed to achieve it?
And that’s it for today.
One last thing, some may argue that choosing a mission isn’t necessary and goal setting is what matters. I can see the logic in that approach. My financial wellness planning takes a different approach to get you to set goals that matter. In order to prioritize the goals that do, you’ll need to start with “the why”, “the what”, “the how” before getting into “where” you’ll need to direct your time and attention.
- Get a copy of my book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life. Learn more about having a vision, clarifying your values, and following a money philosophy.
Next Daily Challenge: Day 19: Set Financial Goals