The Simple Habits That Will Make You Financially Successful

Editor’s note: Today’s Post is from our PhREI Network partner, Jordan Frey MD, The Prudent Plastic Surgeon.

I love this post because The Prudent Plastic Surgeon provides a clear description of the habits you can implement today to improve your financial wellbeing. Jordan nails it when he states “We can set goals and tasks to complete all day long. But until we schedule them, our tendency is to put them off, often indefinitely”… Scheduled your simple habits today so you can join The Prudent Plastic Surgeon on the path to financial success.

Published by The Prudent Plastic Surgeon on September 22, 2020

Habits make you what you are. Financially successful habits will make you financially successful.

Let me give you an example:

In residency, I always did well on our annual In-Service exam. I knew that my attendings looked at In-Service scores as a marker of competence. So, I made it a point to do well.

The strategy was simple. I read 10 pages in a review book and did 10 review questions a day. I did this every day from July 1 until the test in March. It took 10-20 minutes a day. I usually did these tasks in the morning before work or at night before bed.

That’s it. I didn’t cram before the test. In fact, I was relaxed before the test. I knew I was prepared.

My study habits led me to test success.

Financial habits to be financially successful are no different

Most people who have not begun their financial education look at achieving financial success as incredibly complex.

I know that when I decided to finally face my financial illiteracy and dedicate myself to financial freedom, the task seemed almost insurmountable. 

There are endless amounts of material and resources. The topics are intimidating and can be complicated. We worry that making one wrong action can ruin us financially. Our fear leads to stagnation. In fact, our concern about ruining our finances via action leads us to financial ruin through inaction. (Let that sink in!)

Financially successful habits are singles, not home runs

We often look at the financial hole we are in and think we need a miracle to get out. We need a windfall or a huge salary increase.

The funny thing is, this usually doesn’t change the picture. Look at how many lottery winners or sports stars that sign mega contracts go broke. More money with bad habits eventually leads to less money and less wealth.

Trying to go from 0 to 100 in one fell swoop will lead you to take unnecessary risk and potentially can be financially devastating.

When you are in a financial hole like I was in, the first step is to stop digging. Then take deliberate and well-designed steps to start climbing. And never stop climbing.

financially successful habits
Get on the road to financial success today!

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

You can start at any point and be successful. The key is starting. After starting, the key is to keep moving forward.

You cannot learn everything, take every actionable step, and reach your financial goals in one day, or one month, or even one year.

The best way to approach your financial well-being is by forming healthy habits that continuously strengthen your financial muscles. These habits are formed through daily practice that becomes ingrained. 

Like reading ten pages a day to study for a test. These habits should be simple, actionable, reproducible, and goal-oriented. These types of habits will give you real BIG results!

These are my daily habits that have built my financial success:

5-6 AM: Read at least one blog post

7 AM: Mental review of financial goals

All Day: Invest in the margins of my life

6 PM: Talk with my wife/accountability partner over dinner

8:30 PM: Review checking account

8:45 PM: Review checklist of financial tasks coming up

9 PM: Read part of a financial book

Taken as a whole, all of these tasks liberally take up about 20 minutes of time. That is a drop in the bucket compared to other drains on your daily time. 

You may notice that my financially successful habits are in the form of a daily routine

This is not a mistake.

We can set goals and tasks to complete all day long. But until we schedule them, our tendency is to put them off, often indefinitely.

I schedule all of my daily habits in a way that I can do them reliably every day. That’s how they become habits.

Let’s briefly go through my routine.

5-6 AM: Read at least one blog post

I have a bunch of blogs that I love to read. Each morning I read one post when I wake up. I always learn something every day. In a week, I’ve learned a lot. In a year, fuhgeddaboudit.

Here are some great ones you can use: The White Coat InvestorPhysician on FIREThe Physician Philosopher.

Maybe you can even use this blog 😉

7 AM: Mental review of financial goals

My financial goals are included in my written personal financial plan.

Check out my actual plan here.

I review these goals every day. Keep your eyes on the prize they say. That’s exactly what you should do. Every move I make is done with these long term goals in mind.

That’s how you stack small goals to achieve big goals.

All Day: Invest in the margins of my life

Investments create passive income. Income is money you make while you sleep. Or while you’re working your day job. That’s the point. You make it 24/7.

My main investment vehicles are index funds according to my set asset allocation and direct real estate investment in cash-flowing rental properties.

I also invest in the margins of my life using Acorns to invest all of my extra change. By the time I retire, this will be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Start investing with Acorns here and they will give you $5 free.

6 PM: Talk with my wife/accountability partner over dinner

We all need an accountability partner and a coach.

Why do we get in better shape when we use a trainer? They’re not the only people that know work out or exercise regimens. We can find those online easy. The reason that trainers get results is because they hold you accountable.

A financial trainer or coach gets results in the same way. Fostering habits, teaching, coaching, and holding you accountable. I use a coach and so should you!

Interested in financial coaching with The Prudent Plastic Surgeon? Learn more here.

We also need an accountability partner for everyday life. Mine is my wife and I am my wife’s accountability partner. We are on the same page using these techniques and help each other achieve our financial goals.

8:30 PM: Review checking account

Checking my checking account every day gives me feedback of where my money is going. It helps me to make sure we are not just meeting our savings rate of 41% but are ideally exceeding it.

8:45 PM: Review checklist of financial tasks coming up

I keep a post it open on my Mac computer with the financial “tasks” that I have coming up.

Things like: “make extra payment to loans” or “rebalance investment accounts.”

By quickly reviewing every day, I don’t forget anything. I stay on my plan.

9 PM: Read part of a financial book

Your financial education never ends.

If you are a physician, you do continuing medical education every year right? So you have to keep up with your continuing financial education too!

I read 10 pages of a financial book every night before I go to bed. I’ve been able to learn so much doing this. I’ve read over 5 such books in the past couple of months but it really doesn’t feel like it’s been that much effort.

You don’t need to make it 10 pages a day though. Maybe it’s 2 chapters every weekend or one book each year. But you should set a schedule to your CFE.

Start developing your financially successful habits today

These simple habits will lead you to financial success.

These habits should be viewed much like a budget. They are not annoying “things to do.” They are empowering tools, guiding you to your big goals. They are the the bricks building the foundation for your dreams.

Get started today! Hey, by just reading this post you are taking a big step forward!

Here’s to your financial success!

What do you think? What are your financially successful habits? How does your daily routine like? Any time sucks that you can replace with simple habits to build your financial future? Let me know in the comments below!

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