The Power of Intentionality: The Last Piece of Financial Advice You Will Ever Need

The Power of Intentionality: The Last Piece of Financial Advice You Will Ever Need
By Due

For many people, understanding financial advice can be daunting. The sheer amount of information about budgets, investments, and debt management can be paralyzing. However, what if something was missing, a fundamental shift that simplified everything? Enter the power of intentionality.

Intentionality doesn’t have to be as complicated as a financial product or strategy. The key is consciously directing your thoughts and actions towards a desirable financial outcome. To put it another way, it connects the “what” (financial goals) to the “how” (specific actions). This is what transforms good financial advice into an enjoyable and sustainable journey.

Here’s why intentionality is the last piece of financial advice you’ll ever need.

It Reveals Your ‘Why’

Almost all financial advice revolves around the “how.” That is, how to budget, save, and invest. Although these are important, the “why” is often lacking.
On the other hand, intentionality encourages you to dig deeper by asking questions like:
  • Are there any financial goals you have?
  • What kind of life do you want to lead with your money?
  • Do you want to save for a dream vacation, a comfortable retirement, or financial security for your family?
Motivation is fueled by a strong “why.” The reason? Having a strong “why” motivates you to stay on budget or to invest more time into achieving your financial goals.
Going forward, whenever you are faced with spending decisions, ask yourself, “Will this align with my financial intentions?” This simple question is incredibly powerful.

It Creates a Personalized Roadmap

Financial advice shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. There is no guarantee that what works for your neighbor or friend will work for you. By being intentional, though, you can create a financial roadmap customized to fit your values, goals, and circumstances.

What is more important to you, experiences or material possessions? Budgeting for travel may require a different approach from saving for a down payment on a house. Is your investment horizon long, and do you have a high tolerance for risk? If you are nearing retirement, your investment strategy might look different.

Simply put, embrace your individuality and make your financial decisions based on your unique “why.”

Fosters an Abundance Mindset

Despite what you may believe, wealth doesn’t just come from investments. Furthermore, it isn’t all about accumulating cash. Instead, when you are wealthy, you can do what you love and spend your days how you wish.
When it comes to money, there are two primary mindsets. When you believe you’ll always have enough, you have an abundance mindset. With abundance mindsets, people give freely and tend to have a positive outlook on life. This mindset greatly aids people in making “goal-directed decisions,” according to a study published in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences .

The opposite occurs for people who hoard money due to scarcity mindsets. The problem, according to them, is a lack of money. It is feared that if they give, they will run out of money. As such, it may be difficult to enjoy life with this mindset.

In order to cultivate an abundance mindset, you must put in time and effort. In other words, choosing a positive outlook takes practice. Having a money mindset, however, is the key to your long-term growth, both personally and financially.

Cultivates Gratitude

When we focus solely on what we lack, we can become demotivated. When you are intentional, you are more likely to be grateful for what you already have.
As a result, you should acknowledge and appreciate your current financial situation, no matter how big or small it may be. By doing so, you will feel a sense of abundance and contentment, which will ease your financial journey.

Money Becomes a Tool, Not a Master

There is no doubt that money is a powerful tool. If we aren’t careful, however, it can easily become the master. By being intentional, you can regain control. You determine the role money plays in your life, not the other way around.
Rather than being the end in itself, money becomes a means to an end. Using it, you can achieve your desired life and support your values. You can use that shift in perspective to make financial decisions aligned with your overall well-being.

Putting Intentionality Into Action

So, how do you implement an intentional approach to your finances? Here are some practical steps you can take:

Identify Your Goals

As a first step, you should identify your goal(s), the amount you’ll need, and the time frame. In order to achieve your goal, you will need to calculate the amount you need to save each week or month. This is something you should take note of.
It doesn’t matter what your goal is. Whether you want to save for a new car, college tuition for your children, a home deposit, or enough money for retirement, starting here is a must.

Understand Your Situation

Understanding your current financial situation is the next step toward being more intentional with your money. If you’re new to finance, start by creating a budget.

What’s that? Are you afraid of that filthy word budget? Well, here’s what you need to know about budgeting if it sounds a bit daunting.

Make a list of everything you spend on bills and necessities per month. Are you able to cover that number with your monthly income? If so, you know you can progress in your situation, and now you can make the necessary moves.

However, if your total monthly income doesn’t cover your monthly expenses, you will have to find additional sources of income. Knowing that you’re behind every month helps explain why you don’t feel secure financially.

Before Making Any Purchase, Think It Through

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has devoted most of his career to understanding why and how we make decisions, including our financial decisions. According to him, money is all about opportunity and opportunity costs, “Every time you buy a cup of coffee, you should be thinking, ‘What can I do better with four dollars?’”

After you figure out what your situation looks like, and allocate your income to the essentials, you can start thinking about non-budget items.

Also, knowing how unplanned expenses can affect your financial situation when you are intentional with your finances. Even if you don’t make the purchase, just thinking about it is a start.

Determine if You Can Realistically Achieve Your Goals and Adjust Your Spending—without Sacrificing Too Much

Can you realistically achieve your goal based on what you need to save and what you are spending? Take a moment to consider the opportunity costs of the expenditures you’re making. What do you get from these purchases? Do they bring you joy and happiness and align with your goals?
If you look at your big-ticket expenses and contact your provider, you could actually spend less. For example, you can ask your utility providers and health insurer if you can get a better deal.

Unintentionally Save Intentionally

Those who “unintentionally save intentionally” set up savings systems that are set and forgotten until they need to access the money. A good example is creating a savings folder for each kid.
In addition, you can create folders for “vacations,” “credit card repayment,” and “other” goals, such as retirement. By creating these folders, you have created bank accounts that bear interest. Every week, you can divert some of our income into these savings accounts.

Spend According to Your Goals

Whenever you spend money intentionally, you know how it impacts your current and future situation. As such, start associating your spending with your goals if you want to be more intentional with your money.

Consider the question: “Can I achieve my goals faster by buying this thing? It makes sense to purchase the item if the answer is yes. But, if the answer is no, then it’s not something that will help you long-term.

Remember, it’s your goals that matter, not your possessions.

Check in and Repeat

Keep an eye on your intentional spending and savings frequently. In order to create a habit, Dan Ariely suggests doing this once a month.
In the end, it boils down to developing good money habits, being more aware of opportunity costs when it comes to spending, and ensuring you are saving intentionally.

Intentionality and Financial Tools

Intentionality isn’t a substitute for solid financial strategies. Budgeting apps, investment research, and debt repayment plans are still essential tools. Intentionality, however, gives the process a sense of purpose and motivation.
Intentionality enhances the effectiveness of financial tools in the following ways:
  • Budgeting. By tracking numbers, your budget becomes your roadmap toward achieving your goals. By doing this, sticking to a budget feels empowering, not restrictive.
  • Investing. When you invest intentionally, you are investing for a specific purpose, such as a child’s education or a dream vacation.
  • Debt repayment. When debt is viewed as an obstacle to your goals, it feels heavier. Debt repayment becomes a proactive step towards financial freedom when it is done with intention.

The Final Word

The objective of financial advice is to help you reach your goals, but it is merely a means to that end. Being intentional guides you toward your financial goals.

Ultimately, you can achieve financial freedom and fulfillment by knowing your “why” and aligning your actions accordingly.

By John Rampton
The Epoch Times copyright © 2024. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.
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