It's funny how we often want to do something, in business or in life, but take absolutely no action to make it happen.
I’ve heard friends say “I’d like to go to Europe for a holiday.” but they keep spending all their money on clothing and social events. I’ve heard others declare, “This is the year that my taxes won’t stress me out. I’m filing the last few years and getting on top of it all!” and yet…they continue to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Financial goals are some of the most common I hear. Because really, money is everywhere.
As Jen Sincero (author of You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth) says:
Money is something that every single person on this planet needs. It’s essential to our survival, second perhaps to food, water and shelter. But then, having access to these essentials usually requires money.
Not a day goes by where we don’t use money, or use something that was paid for with money, or have an experience that is somehow connected to money. Not. One. Single. Day. Money’s in the roads we drive on, the food we eat, the music we listen to, the freedom we enjoy.
Dig a little deeper
To my friends and clients wanting to change their relationship with their finances, I dig a little deeper.
How serious are they about wanting that change for themselves? Does it line up with their values to pursue it? If so, I suggest that they set up a budget and stick to it till they meet their goal. One of the best budgeting tools can be found on the MoneySmart website. Setting a budget is an activity that will make the goal a reality. The goal isn’t to have a budget but to get to Europe (and then more broadly, to travel and to have new experiences).
And tax… it’s similar but different…
It’s something we’ve all got to go do by law.
It’s part of being an adult.
But it doesn’t have to be stressful. Getting out from underneath a pileup can be though.
So the goal here is to ensure that tax time isn’t stressful. You’ll know this is accomplished when you’ve got a system in place that helps you throughout the year to keep on top of your tax obligations and streamlines submission. And your tax years are up to date.
Break down the task into manageable chunks. Tackle a year a weekend or every second weekend. Or find your evidence to support claims one weekend and submit the weekend after. Or go through your shoebox one weekend and your emails another. Break the overwhelming task of “submit tax return for 2018-19” into its parts.
What are the rewards
Remember why it’s important to you and set a due date. Feel motivated by that due date and go for it hard. There are many ways of keeping the purpose in mind. One is to visualise how good it will feel to have everything submitted and off your to-do list. You may even get some money back! What a great reward that will be at the end of it.
In my personal and business email, I create a folder for each tax year. Whenever something comes in that’s related to tax, I move it to that folder (you can even send photos of receipts to yourself and store them here). When it’s time to do my tax return, everything I need is there. At my fingertips.