Do you want to live life to the fullest? Have enough money to accomplish your biggest hopes, dream, and goals?
Great. So you’ve written a “money mission statement,” right?
Maybe not. Most people don’t have a money mission statement, either because they don’t know they need one or because the idea of making one sounds like as much fun as doing taxes. But a money mission statement is crucial to accomplishing all those exciting things you want in life.
And putting one together can actually be pretty inspiring in itself.
What Is a Money Mission Statement (and Why Do You Need One)?
Simply put, a money mission statement is the roadmap that brings your big life goals into alignment with your spending. Without a mission statement, you may think you’re doing fine financially (sticking to your budget, not getting into debt, etc.). But in reality, you’re also not getting any closer to achieving your major life goals, such as buying your dream home, launching a business, or backpacking across South America for six months.
Unless you’re heir to a vast financial empire, your money is limited. That means every dollar you spend on X (cable TV, drinks, interest payments) is a dollar that you can’t spend on Y.
You need to prioritize your spending in a way that moves you closer to your goals. A mission statement helps you define those goals and also helps you figure out a plan of action.
It’s hard to have control over your financial future when you don’t know where you want to go or how you’re going to get there. A money mission statement helps you create that roadmap. And, if you do it right, it also does something else — inspires you to make your dreams a reality.
How to Write a Mission Statement That Gets You Excited
Putting together a mission statement might sound tedious and dry: follow these steps, plug in these numbers, and toss in some jargon for good measure. But there’s no point in having a plan of action if it doesn’t inspire you.
For instance, here’s a bad money mission statement: “My goal is to reduce my debt while maintaining a strong quality of life.”
There are some great sentiments in that statement, but it doesn’t exactly inspire you to rally the troops, does it? It’s missing any elements of emotion or passion. And that’s a problem, because when you have to make tough financial choices, let’s be honest: you decide with your heart and your gut.
So let’s get your heart and gut involved in putting together your money mission statement. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What do I need in my life to be happy? For instance, you might want to maintain a “strong quality of life,” but what does that mean? What do you need to consider your life happy and complete?
Maybe you want to travel to Europe for at least two weeks every summer. Maybe you want to snowboard at least 20 days this winter. Or you might want to a job you’re passionate about or spend more time with your family. This is the emotional side of the equation — the “why” that keeps you going.
2. What are my short-term and long-term money goals? Maybe you want travel to be a big part of your life now, but you also want to build up more financial security for your future. Maybe you want to find a job you love but also save up enough money to buy your first house. A good mission statement helps you enjoy the present while also planning for the future.
3. What financial obstacles are currently standing in my way? You might wish you made more money, had fewer expenses, or had more savings for a rainy day. If there are any barriers blocking your money goals, your mission statement should include ways to overcome them.
4. What specific steps can I take to make all this happen? A strong mission statement provides you with specific action steps and deadlines to help make your goals possible. Instead of saying “I want to pay off debt,” for instance, you could say, “I will crush $8,500 in loan payments by the end of the year” or “I’ll put an extra $100 a month towards my student loans.” Make your action steps concrete and measurable.
Now, add it all together, put it in your own words, and you’ve got your motivational money mission statement! A revised version might be:
“Debt sucks and it’s keeping me from buying a home and working at a more fulfilling job. I’m going to eliminate my debt by making twice the minimum payments while cutting back on things I don’t care about that much, like dining out and paying for cable TV. This way I can still enjoy my favorite things: travel and time with my friends.”
And voila — now you have a money mission statement that gets you excited. Post this in a spot you’ll look at every day: your bathroom mirror, your computer, your refrigerator. And the next time you’re tempted to spend $40 on dinner instead of cooking, glance at your mission statement and remember the bigger picture.
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