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As a kid, did you ever use a magnifying glass to fry a grasshopper on the sidewalk during a hot, sunny day? Well, that is the power of focus. Over a broad area, the sun provides light and warmth. But when harnessed through a small lens, it can fry a bug.
There are multiple components to an effective financial plan: Budgeting, emergency savings, debt elimination, investing, etc. Much like a magnifying glass, having a good plan can help you harness your power and focus on getting out of debt, building wealth, and achieving financial independence.
Plans such as Dave Ramey’s 7 Baby Step’s, help you focus on one goal in your financial plan at a time; maximizing your ability to accomplish that specific goal. Like the sun—when focused on a broader area, it has less power and intensity—you too have less power to succeed when trying to do too many things at once.
“There is a power that focus—extreme levels of intense focus—gives you that supersedes math on the short term… there is something that happens in your spirit and your emotions and your relationship when you just say you’re going to put the blinders on and all you’re focusing on is pounding this debt.”¹ –Dave Ramsey
How many of us have tried to save, give, spend, invest, and pay down debt all at the same time? I have. Ever had the feeling that you are doing a lot and getting almost nowhere? Me too. It’s hard to find traction when trying to do so many things at one time. Like a rat in a wheel, we use a lot of time and energy, yet get almost nowhere. Not a good plan.
I haven’t been shy about sharing the program I have used to get myself out of debt (Dave Ramsey’s Plan). It hasn’t been easy and I still have a lot of work to do, but I have goals and I know which obstacle I need to conquer next. The LDS Church has also made available lots of tools to help guide me through this process. The Bible and scriptures provide wisdom as well. Utilizing the tools that I have available, I have been able to focus intensely and make more progress in my personal financial life than ever before.
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
Don’t be the rat in a wheel. Don’t try and save, invest, pay down debt, give, and spend crazily all at the same time. Get on a focused plan. You will be amazed at the power and strength it will give you. Get $1000 in your emergency fund and snowball your way out of debt—smallest balances first. Once you’re out of debt and have a fully funded emergency savings, then you can worry about saving for retirement, your children’s college or mission, purchasing a home, giving graciously, and going on dream vacations.
If you try and do all these things at the same time, it will be extremely difficult for you to find traction and achieve your goals. Doing so eliminates your power and ability to succeed financially. One thing at a time. One goal at a time. Remember the power of focus.
*debtfreemormon is a certified financial counselor serving the northern Utah area. If you would like help with your finances, one-on-one counseling and coaching is available. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org