Whether we’re yearning to start our own businesses or travel around the world, many of the dreams we have often relate to our finances in some way. After all, finances play a big role in whether something seems feasible or not. In fact, according to our Pursuit of Prosperity Study, nearly 78 percent of Americans are postponing personal milestones due to their financial situations. Through our study, we found that, because of finances:
- 30 percent of Americans postpone purchasing a home
- 22 percent postpone starting a family
- 22 percent postpone retirement
- 19 percent postpone starting a business
- 19 percent postpone getting married
It’s normal to feel as though some of your dreams are out of reach — but many of us might be closer to achieving them than we think.
The Time Is Now to Follow Your Dreams
It can be scary to take a leap and pursue a dream, but the results can make it worthwhile. Take it from Kiera Smalls, co-founder of City Fit Girls. She pursued her dream of starting a side gig, and her story might inspire you to take that step if you’re considering it as part of your path to prosperity. Smalls says:
“I was nervous about pursuing my passion for wellness while having a full-time job in a completely different industry. After dreading how much time I wasted by pushing my passion to the back burner, I mustered up the courage to launch my side hustle. During that time, I learned a lot about myself and my abilities while managing a workload for two companies at a time. The most important thing I learned was how to leverage my full-time job to fund my side hustle. Overtime, my side hustle grew into a thriving business. The beauty of becoming an entrepreneur in this way is that I can still have a full-time job and side hustle at the same time while simultaneously pursuing my passion. I can proudly say that I am now part of the 37 percent of Americans who are considering becoming self-employed within the next five years.”
According to our study, 58 percent of Americans are hopeful about achieving prosperity in the future. And, 80 percent see financial success in their future. As more becomes known about the field of positive psychology, we’ll start to learn more about how our attitudes affect these overall outcomes and outlooks, too.
A positive attitude doesn’t mean you’ll look at life through rose-colored glasses and ignore the obstacles that inevitably arise. It only means that you’ll have better tools for rebounding if you face an occasional setback.
Successful individuals — from athletes to artists to business leaders — often say that a positive attitude has been their best ally. You may feel a little defeated if the path to your dream takes a detour, and that’s completely normal. In fact, more than half (52 percent) of Americans think it’s more difficult to become financially successful today than it was in the past. However, a positive attitude and clear perspective can motivate you to keep moving forward, even when that seems difficult.
Getting Your Financial Plan to Fall in Line
Of course, you’ll want more than just a great attitude to start following your dreams. That’s where a solid financial plan comes in. A good financial plan lets you see what next steps you need to take and gives you an outline of how to get there. Start by thinking long-term, such as where you want to be in five or 10 years. Then, work backwards to see how you need to get there.
Set a Realistic Budget. For example, if your dream is to own a home in five years, start by determining how much the home you want will likely cost. Based on that, figure out how much money you’ll need for a down payment. That lets you know the amount you need to save. Now you can start looking at your current debts and income and see how much you’ll realistically be able to save each month. From there, you can begin listing your next steps — make sure they’re realistic, actionable and tied to a timeframe.
A realistic budget is a crucial part of your financial plan; it’s what lets you know what you’re able to do. Let’s say you’re dreaming of quitting your job and launching a wedding planning business. Based on what your budget allows, you might choose to start pursuing your business on the side and build it up while you continue working, like Kiera Smalls did. Or you might be able to work fewer hours at a day job while you start working on your business.
Making these decisions with a budget in place is wiser for your financial health. Make sure you’ve realistically outlined your current income and obligations with apps like Mint or Turbo to help keep you organized and informed about your personal financial health. Also, evaluate the cost of whatever dream it is that you’re pursuing. Try to do one thing each day that helps you get closer to achieving your goal, no matter how small it might be.
Talk to a Professional. As you work toward following your dreams, remember that it never hurts to talk to a professional who can help you create a financial plan. That might be a financial advisor or a money mentor. This person may think about costs and situations that you hadn’t considered. Having discussions with this professional could help keep you from making expensive mistakes.
It’s time to meld a positive attitude and a solid financial plan. It’s your best bet for finding a way to stop putting your dreams on hold and start taking hold of them.