Seven years ago, I came to a critical juncture in my finances. Before that time, I had been hustling ceaselessly- marketing, training, recruitment, sales, and so on; if it would put some money in my pocket, you would find me there. I was taking two steps forward and four steps backward. Strangely, the more I hustled, the less satisfied and fulfilled I became. It was as though I were working like the proverbial elephant, and eating like an ant. One thing is for sure when you work unendingly: BURNOUT! Suddenly, I hit rock bottom. If you would ask me though, I had it coming. I became depressed, stressed, and completely tired of life. If you have ever experienced such before, you would understand what I am talking about. I came to the critical juncture where I had to make a choice between two vital options: Continue with the status quo or Make a 360-degree change; something simply had to give. It was a very tough call, but I chose to go with the second option. This required a complete overhaul of my life. I shut down my businesses and went to learn. I needed to know how things really worked so that I wouldn’t be struggling unnecessarily.
2023 was quite a year of adjustments for most of us globally. Anywhere you went, be it the United Kingdom, the United States of America, or Australia, just to mention a few; most people had to make adjustments in the face of the rising cost of living, energy crisis, inflation; and most importantly because of the war in Ukraine. In my interactions with most of my clients during the year, I noticed that they were dealing with different shades of financial issues. The critical question you need to ask yourself now is; “how do I make the best of 2024?”
First, accept that 2024 is a critical juncture. By way of a simple definition, a critical juncture is a valley of decision, where the steps you take now will determine your success or failure in the coming years. What this means is that you need to be very strategic in your financial decisions this year. Don’t make decisions based on emotions or hearsay; investigate things for yourself, ask questions, and if you are not satisfied; don’t do it. This reminds me of a friend (someone I truly respect and honour); who recently asked me to make an investment in a business deal. I appreciated the gesture, but I still went ahead to ask him vital due diligence questions; he did his best to answer, but I wasn’t really sold. Hence, I politely declined the offer. The events that happened subsequently, confirmed my suspicion.
Second, build an emergency fund now; if you don’t already have one. An emergency fund simply put, is a special savings scheme where you build up three (3) to six (6) months of your monthly income. Let’s suppose you earn $1,000 monthly, to build an emergency fund, you will need to save up $3,000 – $6,000. This is imperative in that 2024 will be filled with financial headwinds, and one must be prepared. I recently had a session with a client of mine, and he told me that he has built up a two (2) year worth of emergency fund. This is very commendable.
Lastly, keep investing in your earning ability. This is very crucial in such a time as this, especially concerning the opportunities that would be opening up. I know, there are quite several negative forecasts for 2024; but we must not allow ourselves to be blindsided. This New Year has opportunities, and we must continually prepare ourselves for them. Keep building capacity through relevant courses, certifications, knowledge acquisition, and engaging coaches in key areas of your life.
In conclusion, you need to understand that 2024 is not a year of hustles; but a year of strategic financial moves. Take the proactive steps highlighted above to make the best of 2023. I love and appreciate you.