Begin with the End in Mind – a guide to improving your finances

Begin with the End in Mind – A Guide to Improving Your Finances

by Verve

I have always liked the saying, “Begin with the end in mind”. I heard it many years ago whilst reading the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and it’s stuck with me ever since. 

In the same way that we might read a recipe before cooking or look at a map before leaving on a trip: to begin with the end in mind is simply the process of having a clear destination or outcome before starting something. 

Simple in theory, yet in my experience, not many people apply this approach to their finances or relationship with money.

So we are asking the question:

What do you want your financial position to look like in 12 months?


A guide to improving your finances

Getting Specific

A clearly defined endpoint with money helps shape the destination so that you can begin to align your actions and becomes a point that you can test against and check in to ensure you are on track. 

It also becomes the point where you can measure your financial decisions to determine whether the outcome will move you closer or further away from your end goal or desired state.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey states that the concept of beginning with the end in mind starts with imagination, “the principle is that all things are created twice, first in the imagination and then with the physical creation”. 

Making a conscious effort to visualise what we want is the starting point of its creation.


Start by Visualising 

Start by visualising how you want your financial situation to be at a point in the future, let’s say 12 months from now.

If you fast forward 12 months and ask yourself:

How would I like to be feeling about my finances? 

Perhaps your response is something like: I want to feel in control, at ease, empowered, free, secure, and making progress.

Your response might be a word, a feeling, a statement or even a paragraph! Feel free to go with whatever comes up for you.


Create a list of habits and behaviours

Once you have your word (or words), the next step is to list all the positive habits, behaviours and steps you would need to take to create this desired feeling or financial state. 

For example, let’s say your desired end state is to feel “in control” of your finances, then your list of habits and behaviours that you may have in place to feel this way might include:

  • Following a spending plan
  • Keeping on top of bills and expenses
  • Spending in alignment with your values
  • Regularly reviewing your finances
  • Creating a system to manage and track your finances
  • Opening bills, investment and superannuation statements
  • Saving a regular amount of money
  • Contributing to your superannuation fund
  • Investing regularly
  • Reducing your debt mindfully
  • Steering clear of buy now, pay later options
  • Learning and upskilling on financial matters

If you’d like to feel “more secure” with your finances, then perhaps your list might also include:

  • Knowing how much is enough
  • Working toward a plan
  • Having an emergency fund
  • Regularly saving money
  • Creating a plan to reduce debt
  • Considering appropriate levels of insurance

If you’d like to feel empowered, then perhaps you’d add to your list:

  • Setting a money goal and working towards it
  • Reading personal finance books, 
  • Attending financial literacy and educational events and workshops
  • Working with a financial coach or financial advisor. etc

This brainstorming step hints at all the things you need to focus on and where you can invest your time, energy and attention to start creating the relationship you want with your finances. This process creates a list of actions and the “to do” list you need to take for your financial future. Try our 3 Step Money Course for more inspiration.

The examples above are suggestions; remember that your list may look very different depending on your goals. It’s essential to make it personal to you.

Once you have your list, it’s time to take action.  But before you do, be sure to seek appropriate financial advice if you’re considering insurance, investing, making contributions to super or reducing debt. 

As you begin to work towards your new financial situation, remember little steps can create positive changes in your finances; that’s the magic power of compounding that sees little things develop into significant shifts. Good luck! 

This blog is published by Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd (ABN 65 628 675 169, AFS Representative No. 001268903), which is a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956, AFSL 238184), as the Sub-Promoter of Verve Super. 

Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd and True Oak Investments Ltd are not licensed to provide personal financial advice. The information contained in this blog, including any financial guidance, is general in nature. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to ensure that your financial decisions are suited to your unique circumstances.

You should read the Product Disclosure StatementAdditional Information BookletInsurance GuideTarget Market Determination and Financial Services Guide before making a decision to acquire, hold or continue to hold an interest in Verve Super. When considering financial returns, past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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