How will we know what progress looks like? Employing principles, by definition, means that there’s no single, clear cut, “right” way to build your financial life. (Sorry, if you were scouring the book looking for the recipe.) Since we’re talking about money, we do have the benefit of being able to generate numerical data that we can use. But you can even generate softer data, such as checking in with your emotions and how you feel about your state. If you’ve designed your goals well, you’ll see if they reflect your values, and will have baked into them ways of measuring their achievement. Your goals will have their own timeline, but it’s best not to wait until the end to assess if you achieved the desired outcome. Rather, you want to take stock of your progress along the way.
When we engage in periodic reflection, it should be a formal endeavor: having a meeting with yourself (and anyone else on board with the plan) once a month to determine if you are on track to hit your goals, account for anything that came up unforeseen, and to make any necessary course corrections for the months ahead. At the same time, you want to also have an informal approach to reflection: talk with your spouse or partner if there were any engage-able moments to co-operate with someone today. How did opting to purchase something, or not, make you feel? Are you noticing any differences in yourself now that you’re bringing lunch to work? How much is in the vacation fund now that you’ve started saving a portion of each paycheck? These reflections can help turn your data into knowledge about what works, what doesn’t, and what needs refining. This reflection process is important – without it, at worst, you live life oblivious to your potential and how the world could be. With it, you lock in small incremental changes that add up to profound, seismic shifts in our economy and culture.
This book is a work in progress and we’ll all benefit from your input and collaboration. In the “Leave a Reply” below, please post examples, comments, questions, and needed edits. By posting, you grant permission for inclusion of any content to become part of the book, now or in the future, in whatever form it may take. I’ll give attributions to the extent possible. I know sharing about our financial lives can be sensitive, so if you want to share anonymously, please use the contact form instead and I’ll honor your request.