Changing the way you think about money changes the way you handle it. Most people spend much of their waking day working away to earn the stuff, then thrown it away.
If you're not getting ahead financially as fast as you want it's time to re-programme your financial brain. Being successful at saving and investing is 80% behaviour and 20% knowledge.
Here are some ideas to uninstall your current money behaviour and start again:
Money buys freedom: it's tempting to look at money you're putting away as spending forgone. In reality you're buying yourself freedom with every dollar you save and invest.
Investing doesn't counter poor spending habits: if you mis-spend you're not giving investing your best shot. By mis-spending you are dedicating your capital to the wrong thing.
Understand the power of small amounts: lunch today may have only cost $5. These small amounts of money really add up. Big time. Every year I give up alcohol and caffeine for Lent. One bottle of wine a week and a flat white a day add up to nearly $40 a week. Over seven weeks that's $280 saved.
Video: How To Think Like A Millionaire
Take responsibility for your financial life: it's not your parents' fault you're poor. Nor it is your school's, your employer's, your spouse's or anyone else's fault. If any of these people taught you badly, make sure you don't follow their lead. Only you are responsible for your financial position.
Buy the investment, not the product: products make you poor. Investments make you wealthier. So don't litter your house with cheap plastic stufffrom The Warehouse, buy the shares instead. Or if you've got teenage girls, buy into a water fund or company and then put a low pressure head on your shower.
Think "what can I afford to save?": instead of thinking: "I've got $500 at the end of the month spare, what shall I buy?" or "I can afford that wide-screen TV this month", think: "Great I've got $500 left to save, I hope there's nothing I need to spend it on." Reversing the way you think about budgeting is a huge milestone in retirement planning.
Get your assets to do the work: find out about the power of passive income and get your investments to do the work that your labours once did. Investments work 24-hours a day. It's like having employees working for you in a 24-hour business that makes money even while you're sleeping.
Learn from successful people: If you know someone successful ask him or her to mentor you. If not, you can still learn from the world leaders. Read books by successful investors such as Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch and model yourself on them.
Start now: instead of thinking: "I'll start my new regime next month", or "after Christmas", or "when I get back from holiday", start right this moment. When you want to turn over a new leaf don't try delaying tactics. Think: "I'm going to save $xx by x (date)."
Say goodbye to consumer debt: the only good debt is mortgage debt. The rest of it is bad. Even 0% interest deals can be bad. They encourage you to buy full priced items on credit, and usually you pay fees to set up the deal. It's better to shop around for the best deal, or not buy at all.
Leverage yourself: One of Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki's ideas is that instead of living below your means in order to save that you leverage yourself through business or investment and expand rapidly the size of your income. It pre-supposes your ventures will be successful – at least eventually. It is a route that works for many people.
Visualise your financial future: thinking rich doesn't necessarily make you rich. But it can help. If you want to become a grey nomad in retirement like I do, then plaster a picture of a Winnebago around the house. Affirmations are a great idea as well – although they make some people cringe. The idea is that you repeat something to yourself over and over again so that it sinks in. If you have bad financial habits, get an affirmation ready to overcome them. For example, if you are inclined to take a left-turn into the takeaway on the way home after Friday night drinks, have an affirmation ready to repeat to yourself as you approach that building such as: "takeaways eat wealth". Even better would be a positive affirmation: "Eat at home, get wealthy."