Moneywise: The 7 Skills of a Successful Careerist – Part 6 — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

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In your career, you are often told to “follow your passion, do what you love.” The common corollary to this is to ignore money as the motivating factor in your career and concentrate on those areas where you can find the most joy and have the most impact. While I certainly think you need to find the passions in your career in order to build the career you deserve, you cannot — and should not — ignore the effect that money has upon your career. Understanding money, how to earn it, save it, spend it, is of critical importance in any career. Being “moneywise” will help to insure that money doesn’t drive your career, but also that you have enough money to live the life your desire.

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Where does it all go?

One of the most fundamental elements of being moneywise is to clearly understand where your money is going. Back in the pre-computer days, this meant keeping a written ledger and a lot of hard work with pencil and paper. Today, it couldn’t be simpler, though, and yet people still avoid tracking their income and expenses. There are a host of free or cheap, online and offline, services and software packages that can track your money in almost infinite detail. They can provide reports, advice, budgets and warnings, if you use them.

I find that many people don’t track their income and expenses because they are embarrassed at what they will find there. They already know they have money issues, but don’t want to be faced with the black and red numbers that they already know they will find. Instead, they continue further and further down the road into debt until they are forced to face their problem with final notices, repossessions and bankruptcies. If you recognize yourself in this description, it is time you made a change. Sure, you might be embarrassed by what you find in your finances, but it is far better to face that embarrassment, and turn around your financial life before it gets any worse. Why propel yourself into the depths of a financial crisis when you can turn it around before it is too late?

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Wants versus Needs

Another great stumbling block for many careerists is understanding the difference between a “want” and a “need” in their financial lives. Sure we might all want the trappings of great success no matter our true level of career success, but do we really need them. More importantly, can we even afford them. No matter how much you might want something, you must evaluate your purchases clearly and closely. While some debt is a fact-of-life for nearly everyone, going deeply in debt, with little prospect of actually paying for the item, is sheer folly. Not buying that new, expensive car today might effect your immediate happiness, but I can assure you, buying that car and being saddled with crippling debt for years to come will effect your happiness even more.

Bad financial decisions have a way of haunting us for years, if not the rest of our lives. Sure, we all make mistakes sometime, but the best thing we can do for our future is strive to make as few mistakes as possible. When you make a mistake, seek to rectify it as quickly as you can so it has the most minimal effect. This can be embarrassing, yes, and even disheartening, but it is also critical to protecting your future career and future standard of living. When it comes to finances, you must be as honest as possible about your desires and your financial realities. Ignoring issues or wishing them away is impossible. Reality will win no matter what you might think.

When wants become confused with needs, it can lead you to make very poor choices about your work and career. If you ever feel you can’t leave your current job because you will not be able to afford your current lifestyle, you are in danger of being trapped and abused in a job that does not serve your future career wants, needs and desires. Too often we feel trapped in our work because of poor decisions made earlier. Don’t allow your wallet to make the decision of what job you will take. Your wallet might be happy, but you will regret it greatly.

In order to build the career you deserve, discover your financial means using financial services or software, live within those means by monitoring your income and expenses carefully and make sure you are buying what you need, not what you want. Being moneywise can help to avoid many future problems and provide a great foundation for achieving your career goals.


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