4 Financial Planning Tips From The Experts

When you’re not hitting your earning potential, it seems like the self-made billionaires of the world were born with something you weren’t. They have a knack for money management, naturally making wise investment choices and quickly amassing a fortune. From your position underneath a growing pile of bills, their financial freedom may appear to you like magic or luck.

While it’s true some people are born into money and privilege, others have to fight for it. Financial literacy is a hard-earned skill for many of the world’s most successful people. Luckily for you, some of them are as generous as they are wealthy, and they’re willing to share their saving tips and tricks with people like you.

Jenny Blake

Though Blake isn’t a financial advisor in the strictest sense, her experience as a former Google career coach and job strategists makes her uniquely qualified for setting and attaining financial goals. She recommends brainstorming creatively by drawing a visual diagram or mind map of your goals.

Blake starts hers by putting the year in the middle of a page before drawing spokes for important themes she wants to work on. In terms of finances, one of her spokes may be to increase her financial stability. From there, she draws additional spokes to itemize different ways she could accomplish this goal.

When you try this process on your own, Blake says to ask yourself questions like:

  • Why are these goals areimportant?
  • What does success look like to you? 

Ask enough questions so you can get to the heart of the matter. It doesn’t matter whether you want to land a better paying job, to pay off student debt, or tofindpayday loans online to pay offan emergency bill or repair. A mind map can help you analyze any goal from every angle.  Blake hopes her method will help you break free from linear thought and uncover an unusual strategy that could lead to success.

Kevin O’Leary

When he isn’t sitting on the panel for NBC’s Shark Tank, O’Leary likes to share his financial advice. He recommends people avoid buying things they don’t need by sticking to lists and budgets. His tip for creating an effective budget is by reviewing a 90-day period in your life.

“A three-month period is a really good snapshot of what your lifestyle is, including all the purchases you make in clothing, in fashion, the places you go, the vacations you take. Every use of funds,” he says.

Add up every cent that comes in and out of your hands over this 90-day period. If you spend more than what you make, O’Leary says, “you’re screwed”.

Test this technique out and average what your habits cost you. If you were in the red after hosting the Super Bowl or going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, you know you need to scale back on how much you spend on entertainment and gifts. Make these categories in which you overspend your focus in the future, and do all that you can to spend less than you make.

Mark Cuban

Billionaire, entrepreneur, and fellow Shark Tank panelist, Mark Cuban shares a piece of advice that he wishes he heard in his youth. When speaking with Business Insider, Cuban said:

That credit cards are the worst investment that you can make. That the money I save on interest by not having debt is better than any return I could possibly get by investing that money in the stock market. I thought I would be a stock market genius. Until I wasn’t. I should have paid off my cards every 30 days.”

Now, he recommends people cut up their cards and throw them away, relying on cash instead. If that’s not possible, he advocates responsible use of credit. That means paying off the full balance each month to avoid interest—a technique that could save as much as $1,292 a year in interest fees according to NerdWallet.

Liz Pulliam Weston

Personal finance columnist and certified financial advisor, Liz Pulliam Weston frequently shares her tips with her readers at NerdWallet. When asked which one is her single most important piece of advice, Weston said people need to break free from negative thinking. She suggested:

Remove the words ‘can’t,’ ‘won’t’ and ‘but…’ from your vocabulary, as in ‘I can’t do that,’ ‘That won’t work’ and ‘Yeah, but …’ Being willing to consider every possible solution, no matter how weird or radical it might seem at first, is the key to breaking yourself out of old habits and behaviors that aren’t serving you anymore. It’s true in life, and also true with money.

There’s something to be said about positive thinking. Oprah Winfrey — one of the richest women in the world and recent recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award— is a huge proponent of positivity. She claims this positive frame of mind can manifest your desires. Even if you don’t agree with Oprah, this change in your thoughts and behaviors can give you the confidence to take on the experimental solutions you cooked up by using Blake’s mind map technique.

The mind map is a good first step on your journey towards better money management. It’s a great way to outline your goals, so you understand what you expect out of your finances. From there, pick through these experts’ tips, beginning with the one that resonates the most with you. Once you have a handle on it, move to the next, and see how your finances improve.

As you gain more experience managing your funds, you’ll feel more comfortable at the helm of your finances. You may never be as rich as some of the experts above, but through hard work and determination, you might just become one of those people who have a knack for money.