A recent podcast episode launched a great discussion on strategy. For many, myself included, the concept of “strategy” conveys complexity. Here’s my take on breaking down how strategy benefits our financial life.
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Here’s that recent podcast episode by the way!
Okay, enough about the podcast…now for the real deal:
The Art of Financial Strategy
When it comes to strategy, I think of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. To me, strategy means knowing myself, my environment, and of course, my opponent. Falling short on any of those three can easily spell doom. Understanding all three at once brings out the art.
Oddly enough, when I think of writing from a strategy perspective, I think of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This has been a highly constructive book in my life detailing how the, “process-is-the-product,” when it comes to working on a sustainable solution. In the book, the focus is on writing, but I believe all pursuits result in at least an appreciation of the process that takes us to the result.
The reason I bring up these two books is because the merger of them bring me to my personal topic: the art of financial strategy.
From one perspective, personal finance is a numbers game; interest, taxes, and compounding interest. These are all logical pursuits and they are equally as important.
Art is often the missing element.
The longer I pursue financial freedom, the more I believe this is an art more so than a science.
To believe we can be 100% logical in our pursuits is to ignore the countless years of biological programming we have in our bodies. Not only do we think differently based on our moods, but we can also spend more of our money depending on our environment. Of course, marketing guru’s are always working on ways to get people to spend more, or spend more often, but I digress.
The art of a financial strategy involves knowing ourselves. Not only our goals and ambitions, but also our weaknesses and shortcomings.
Understanding our environment means we need to identify what the next move will be. As my podcast co-host Grant described it, success is having a clear image of where you want to go and then building rungs on a ladder to get there.
The third step is knowing who the enemy is. For some of us, we might be our own worst enemies, so we have to be more creative with our budgets or how we spend our resources.
Automating savings is effective because we structurally miss the opportunity to be bad.
The last step is cultivating a love of the process. For me, I love to be over the iron board or over the kitchen stove. I’m tapped into a great audiobook and I’m in the zone. It feels awesome. I even get excited to do chores because I know I’ll learn some great things, save money, and of course, get my chores done. When it’s all said and done, I’m in a great mood and saved myself from spending money.
That’s my strategy and my approach to pursuing financial independence. I have a crystal clear vision of where I want to be a few years from now, and I’ve established clear milestones that get me from A to B then to C and eventually, to my final destination.
We’ve walked past the first logical steps and we’re appreciating the art more.
After all, avoiding real stupid mistakes caused by irrational judgement is one of the quickest ways to derail our path. Having a clear strategy that takes into account the emotional, as well as, the logical side of personal finance is what helps us to reach our destination sooner.
What is the art of your financial strategy?
P.S. For our answer on the art of financial strategy, we refer back to our pursuit of transitioning from employee to investor at an earlier age. The final step is transitioning from investor to philanthropist. That pursuit embodies the art of why we are on this path to begin with.