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Embrace the #10YearChallenge to Save Money

The #10YearChallenge started as a Facebook Meme. The idea was that you would post a photo of you ten years ago and a photo of you today. However, as with all social media trends, this took off in many different directions.

Some of the variations on the #10YearChallenge are hilarious. Others are ridiculous. More importantly, a few of them are truly helpful.

One of those helpful variations that I’ve spotted is to put a financial planning twist on the hashtag.

What is the #10YearChallenge to Save Money?

This is a three-step process to exploring your financial past, present, and future.

#10YearChallenge Step One: Where Are You Now?

First, take an inventory of where you are financially today. In other words, do a net worth assessment.

In addition to figuring out the numbers, dig into your emotions and thoughts about money. Ask yourself these things:

  • What are three words that describe how I feel about my finances?
  • How comfortable am I talking about money with my friends and family?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how financially knowledgable do I feel?
  • When I sit down to do something money-related, what is the primary emotion?

#10YearChallenge Step Two: Where Were You 10 Years Ago?

Once you have a good picture of where you are right now with money, it’s time to look backward. In other words, do a virtual #10YearChallenge image of your finances. Ask yourself:

  • How much was I earning ten years ago as compared to now?
  • What were my biggest money challenges ten years ago? How have I resolved those?
  • Who did I talk to about money back then? Who can I talk to now?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how financially savvy was I ten years ago?
  • What is the number one thing I’ve learned about money since that time?

Hopefully, when you compare where you were ten years ago to where you are with money today, you’ll feel good. Ideally, you’ve paid down some debt, made some investments, and grown in terms of personal finance education and communication.

However, if that’s not the case, it’s not time to beat yourself up. The original #10YearChallenge caused some people to do just that. They looked at their old pictures and thought, “ugh, I was so much prettier ten years ago.” Then they felt bad about today. That’s not healthy, and it’s not where we want to go. All we’re doing is looking realistically at where we were and where we are. More importantly, we are going to use this information to think about where we want to be.

#10YearChallenge Step Three: Where Will You Be in 10 Years?

Let’s say that you did the Facebook #10YearChallenge. You hesitated because today you weigh a bit more than you did back then. Then you decided that you’re also much happier now, and you’re not going to be ashamed of any of your changes. That said, if you thought ahead to where you’d like to be in ten years, you might want to be both happier and a bit more fit. Therefore, you would use your images to help drive your health and fitness goals. That’s the positive approach we want to take when applying the challenge to our personal finances.

So, first, look at what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown in the past ten years. Pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments. Be gentle with the places where you are lacking. Then use both of those things to figure out where to go next. Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • What are three words that I would like to describe how I feel about money ten years from now?
  • What are five financial things that I would like to learn by then?
  • Who are the people that I expect to be my financial allies in ten years? If I don’t have (m)any, then how can I find more of them?
  • What do I need to do to get my financial savvy up to a 9 or 10 on that 1-10 scale?
  • What is the number one emotion I hope to feel when dealing with money in the future? How can I get there?

Will you take the #10YearChallenge and apply it to your finances?

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