This week I caught the premiere episode of the new season of The Apprentice. The show was an absolute thrill ride! I think I'm going to try to watch this season regularly...I especially like how this season is focusing on second chances for people who have been struggling due to the economy. From hearing the personal stories of the contestants and watching the struggles of the team challenge, I found some life lessons and inspiration for my financial journey. Here's what I learned:
All good things may come to an end. One contestant worked in sales and made a 6-figure salary, then lost his job in the economy after his customers stopped making purchases. Now, he is unemployed, and had to sneak away from his team's meeting to make a call to receive his weekly unemployment check. Just because you have a steady income now, there's no guarantee that it will always be available. Why spend your money frivolously, buying things on credit, when tomorrow you may not have a way to eat or pay off the debt you are racking up today? Which leads me to my next thought...
An emergency fund is absolutely necessary! One man on the show lost his job a while ago, and has been living off of his personal savings. That would not be possible without a savings to begin with!
Every successful project begins with a clear vision and plan. Once you decide to take control of your finances, you have to have a goal of what you want to accomplish. Whether its to save for an upcoming wedding, or to eliminate your credit card debt within 1 year, something has to drive your efforts or you will feel like you are working for no reason. Goals help you to recognize your progress, which keeps your motivated and on task even when life brings hurdles your way.
Take ownership of your work and your decisions. On The Apprentice, if you are the project manager, you are ultimately responsible for the success of your team. In life, you are ultimately responsible for the state of your finances. Every decision you make regarding what to purchase or how much to save have a direct impact on whether or not you will achieve your financial goals. Over budget for the month because of one too many shopping trips? Take ownership of your mistake, and work harder next month. Peer-pressure to attend fancy dinners every weekend? Stand by your decision to manage your money, and politely decline or suggest a cheaper option.
It pays to be creative! On the show, the teams had to design a modern office space. In the end, the design that was the most creative won the challenge. Money management is not all about minimizing debt, but also increasing your income. Think outside the box for ways you can earn more money to increase your savings and pay your debt down faster. You don't have to be confined to your 9-to-5, just discover something that you do so well that others would pay you for your services.
I can't wait to watch next week's episode and see what lessons are in store! Will you all be watching?