👆WATCH the VIDEO for the full tutorial (Transcript below)
Do you wonder where all your time and money is going, especially when you’re working hard in your job, maybe too hard? Those long hours at the expense of quality time with family and friends, and doing the things you really love, let alone taking more vacations and traveling.
Financial independence and the freedom to live your life on your terms can seem like a distant dream.
Wondering how you can change the game?
Well, a Money, Life and Happiness Audit (a.k.a. Financial Independence Audit) can help you manifest your new life and if you start actioning your transformation right away with a game plan, then you can achieve Financial Independence in the next 12 months.
Seriously, financial independence isn’t something that only happens in retirement.
Introducing the Financial Independence AUDIT
Now I’ve been doing some version of a life and money audit since I became independent by working to earn my own living without having to rely on my parents. This is actually the first step to financial independence that everyone takes.
Doing a Financial Independence audit is so handy whenever you are facing a crossroad in your life to help you set a new direction and to get organized.
In fact, doing a yearly audit can help you to plan out your goals so you can start actioning them too.
It’s served me really well to overcome some of my hardest life challenges from picking my first career and deciding on which job to take or changing careers more recently, to investing in myself and my future… so some big investments in time and money from my education to my first apartment, to my first family home.
And of course, most importantly, it is how I achieve financial independence before turning 40,
The big mistake that most people make is to forget that:
time is money
What is Financial Independence – the Truth?
Most people think of financial independence as some big thing that you have to save for like forever till you have many millions in savings. Plus, it involves making loads of lifestyle sacrifices, like living frugally while working crazy hours to make as much money as possible.
This kind of association with your finances and money is what makes many of us avoid thinking about it because it’s a chore and so we don’t want to taking any real action.
When this is how we think, then we ultimately don’t achieve financial independence.
🤓 A hundred percent transparency here. I was guilty of this too until I learned that you can make your time and your money work for you.
The Truth and Reality…
The truth is… financial independence is a lifestyle choice and it’s something you can choose to put your time and your money to, with the rewards being achieving your main financial goals.
I’m sure we’ve all learned to treasure our time much more since all the covid 19 lockdowns and separations, when we realized we took many things for granted.
There’s just no time to waste when it comes to spending quality time with the people you love and on the things that you love to do.
Why wait till retirement when you can live with financial independence now?
What’s In A Money, Life and Happiness Audit?
Now, you may be wondering how you can do your money, life and happiness audit to get started.
A Workbook To Get You Started
I’ve created a workbook with most of my best practices for you to download.
My special audit workbook combines the famous Wheel of Life used by a lot of life coaches, together with some business and financial planning best practices including productivity and time measures, and smart goals that are related to achieving the best return on investment or ROI. I teach these business best practices in my business book, THE STRATEGY JOURNEY (2020), and which I use when I’m consulting for my business and corporate clients and their leaders.
Money, Life and Happiness Audit – Explained
The best way to show you how the money life and happiness audit works is to give you a bit of a peak into my own Financial Independence audit from December, 2021 and January, 2022.
Coming out of the lockdown, doing a new audit really helped me to move forward for sure. Hopefully you’ll see how I’ve used it to help me construct a better year as we approach the year 2023.
The Wheel of Life helps you to evaluate your life across the eight major areas which I like to think of as life spheres, where there’s like a globe surrounding you that determines your aura.
These are the eight spheres that touch your life or lifestyle. So it’s what gives you that balance and ultimately supports your overall levels of happiness.
You can use my workbook to score from one to 10 where you are now across these eight life spheres, as well as then indicating where you want to be in the future in the next year.
Now the tip here is to be realistic with yourself as we can’t all achieve tens in all eight spheres in the future all at once.
This is also why you should do this audit yearly because this gives you the ability to work on the actions that you can take as you’ll break down your goals into smaller tasks that you can complete quickly, giving you lots of low hanging fruit or quick wins to help you build momentum.
Remember, we want to be constructive and improve our levels of happiness here, not add more chores to the to-do list that will overwhelm us.
That’s not financial independence, for sure.
Connecting your MoneyBrain – getting money smart
Now, aside from the consideration into how you feel, which is covered in the standard Wheel of Life audit, in this more advanced audit, you are also going to consider what level of effort in time and money that you’ll be putting in to help you achieve your improvement.
This is how I’m getting you to use your Money Brain to help you action your goals, and that’s what’s missing in a normal life audit that doesn’t cover or connect the time and money elements to your lifestyle.
I’ve provided a separate page in the workbook for each live’s sphere, so you can dive in and really work out what’s going on in each major area of your life that ultimately describes your level of financial independence.
So you look into how you feel now and then think about what you want to change or not change across each live’s sphere area into your health, wealth, knowledge, and connectivity, which are the four pillars of a good life as originally taught by the famous philosopher Aristotle.
Of course, you can do the live spheres in any order, and I’ve just listed these in the order that I like to do them, and it’s what I did in my recent 2022 Money Life and happiness audit.
Maybe the covid lockdowns have pushed me towards a certain order.
Evaluating Your Health
So I would start with the fitness and wellbeing, which looks at our levels of exercise and movement, eating habits, food quality, how much sleep and rest you’ve been getting, and even your gut health too. They say your gut is like your second brain.
We then move into the home and environment to look at our living space, including its physical location, quality of the air, the noise, the heating, pollution, is it peaceful or crammed and stressful.
These are our two health spheres.
Evaluating Your Wealth
Next is to consider your finances and money. So how is your cash flow, my budget, your savings, your spending patterns, your investments? How secure financially do you feel overall and what’s your overall wealth and net worth?
Follow this by moving into my career and business, and whether your work motivates you. Are you satisfied with your work achievements? Does your work give you purpose, meaning, or aligned to your values? Is it helping you to make enough money too, for the effort that you put in, so risk and reward or ROI?
And these are our two wealth related spheres.
Evaluating Your Knowledge
Then there’s how much fun and recreation you’re experiencing, like holidays, hobbies. and passion projects or things that make us laugh, playing games, music, films, and even eating out.
We then move to explore your personal growth and looking into how productive you’ve been feeling… including levels of confidence, ability to adapt and change or to change, or resilience. Are you learning anything new? What’s your self worth?
These are the knowledge spheres.
Evaluating Your Connections or Connectivity
Finally, we get to the connections spheres and into love and values.
This is about personal relationships and how connected you feel to the people around you.
So considered how your relationship works, including your love life.
Are you giving as much as taking? What are your beliefs and are you true to them? Are we sharing with people of like mind?
Don’t forget your pets too.
🥰 If you love dogs like me… I definitely have a strong bond with my dog, Kimi.
And of course there’s time with family and friends or communities that you are getting involved with. How meaningful are these relationships?
How involved are you and should you be more involved or not? It it enjoyable for you? Is there a sense of belonging or like minds and sharing or caring and help? Which goes both ways, of course.
A Financial independence Audit – My Personal Example
So let’s dive into my example workbook for fitness and wellbeing to give you a step by step guide.
Reviewing the Past Year
I considered how I felt in the past year and currently on a scale of one to 10, with one being very unsatisfied and unhappy, and 10 being very satisfied and happy.
For me, this was like a three, especially after picking up some bad habits during the lockdown. In terms of the time and money or effort that I put into my fitness and wellbeing in 2021, this was a three too.
😩 So maybe it kind of shows me why I was feeling the way that I did. Unfortunately, this was how Covid affected me, of course, and I know many people actually worked out a lot more instead, and this doesn’t always match up in terms of the scoring, either,
Sometimes you feel great despite not putting any time or money or effort into something, and it might be because you’ve built it up from previous years.
For example, if you’ve been investing for a while and those investments grow in value,
then this becomes income that you can use later to help you with new things in your life.
So when you’ve decided your two happiness and effort scores for how things are now this is what you color in the relevant pie, of course, in the workbook.
Hint: use two different colors to show the differences between the happiness score and the effort score.
Considering Your Goals for the Next Year (12 months)
Once you’ve looked at your now for the past year, then it’s time to move into what you’ll do in the next year, will you change things or not change them?
So in my illustrated example, you see I’ve outlined:
- my top three things that I want to start doing in the next year,
- my top three things that I want to stop doing and
- the top three things I want to continue doing as it’s working for me.
As you go through this brainstorming or deep thinking, you should score using the one to 10 scale, how achieving this goal will make you feel.
But more importantly, you should also consider the effort you’re going to have to put in to make this change happen.
So do you have the time and money, or will you have the time and or money to help you achieve this change? AND will you put in this effort too?
It’s a key decision you have to make to take control of your life and the financial independence lifestyle that you are creating for yourself.
Now it’s important to not overthink this too much, just go with your gut or what comes into your head first. You can always change things later and you will change things later… when I show you how to use these scores as we get into the next phase when we brainstorm your transformation actions list in the final stages of the Money, Life and Happiness workbook.
My Top Life and Financial Goals – START, STOP, CONTINUE
So for my fitness and wellbeing, I wanted to kick start doing more daily exercises and doing some meal planning in advance instead of always leaving things last minute and then snacking, and this would help me to eat better for sure.
I was also keen to start tracking my health and especially my cycle, given that I have an endometriosis condition rather than avoiding the numbers.
And so perhaps getting a new iWatch Series 8 will really help me to track this part of my health and wellbeing. I was really excited to hear that Apple would be including this cycle tracking app that would be really great for women’s health.
I also started to do some weekly exercise with a personal trainer, and this was definitely something I wanted to keep doing.
Even if, for me, the effort feels high, especially given the cost of getting a trainer in a one-on-one session.
Remember to consider what improvements you’ll make
When doing this brainstorming, I considered how I would feel if I achieved all of these little goals and I scored myself an eight actually. So this is the final step of this phase, to look at your own evaluation and give yourself a score for what improvement this would change or give you in this life sphere in the next year.
Joining the dots… To Create Your Financial Independence Action Plan
And you repeat this process across the other seven life spheres.
When you’re done, you can join the dots in the wheel of life to show you how you’ll change. What will be your new balanced lifestyle in the next year?
This is the start of your new financial independence game plan for transforming your money, your life, and your happiness.
😇 Now this post (and video too) will be way too long if I went into the other seven spheres of my life. So I won’t go into all of my personal details. Of course, you might see some references to them in my future videos on this channel as I like to highlight things with real life examples.
How to Transform Your Life with A TRANSFORMATION ACTION Game Plan?
Moving back to the final step in the workbook now so we can finish this audit process…
When you have completed all eight spheres with your top three goals to start, stop, and keep, then you are ready to move into this next crucial phase to make it all work with your actions.
I love this famous quote that I keep to remind me of what it’s really all about and to keep me ground.
Success is a journey, not the destination.
It’s actually in my business book – THE STRATEGY JOURNEY (2022).
Yes, we need to take action to achieve our goals, including our financial independence and lifestyle goals.
Steps to Building A Successful Financial Independence Action Plan
So what are these actions or steps you’ll take to make this new lifestyle happen?
1. List them out for each of the top three goals you noted in every sphere, and the impact this will have as well as the effort you’ll need to put in again.
💡 HINT: The key here is to make these actions or activities or tasks that you’ll do S.M.A.R.T. which means breaking them down into smaller steps that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
📥 Check out my guide and cheat sheet on how you can make your goals smart.
2. Now to the final part that makes my workbook a little bit special for developing your MoneyBrain… is that you can see which actions or tasks are high impact and so greater than five and low effort, so less than five.
→ This is where you can mark out this quick win with a STAR.
You should try to action these little wins as soon as possible and build some momentum into achieving your goals. The more of these little wins you achieve, then this is how you achieve a big win, which is your real transformation.
3. As you do this brainstorming, what you might also see is that there are too many steps for some of those goals you listed before in the eight life spheres, or you can’t seem to break them down, and maybe it’s too complicated.
This means that you have a project rather than a task, and there’s going to be high effort.
So did you estimate your effort scores for the original top three goals properly? Were you too eager and ambitious?
This is one of the key benefits of making your goals S.M.A.R.T. like I mentioned before, and being successful.
→ So, Consider breaking it down into smaller goals or task and then making each of them S.M.A.R.T.
Financial Independence is a lifestyle Choice
Now, I hope you can see from my experience, which I’m sharing in the example above, that financial independence is actually the lifestyle that you decide you want to live without having to worry about where the money to pay for it is coming from.
Instead, you’re thinking about where and on what you’ll invest your time and your money in, and you know where you need more money to help you make more progress too.
Start Building A Financial Independence Action Plan
The key here is that you are in control because you’re starting to build a plan and it’s not just a plan you can’t keep to either. It needs to be a real action plan or game plan.
Yes, Financial independence is a lifestyle and you can decide how you want to live this lifestyle now and in the next year and beyond too, by building a game plan.
Of course, if you have some money saved up already, or rather you have some existing investments that you have already made in previous years that you can leverage to make it less work or effort for you.
So for example, your money can buy you more time while lessons learned can save you time then you’ll have more resources to play with, so to speak in your arsenal.
This is how you start building your financial independence action plan or game plan and your overall brain for money or money brain.
😎 Doing a money, life and happiness audit consistently is exactly how I transformed my life from poverty to financial independence. I kept making the right investments in time and money on the right things across my wheel of life, and I started to put more things into motion and on autopilot to help me make more time and money and gain more return on investment.
Over time, the more you have in action, the closer you get to gaining enough time and money that you can quit your day job and retire if you want.
🥳 This is how I achieved it before turning 40.
Before you know it, you might just have over a million in various financial investment that sets you up with a certain level of financial freedom.
😊 That’s kind of what happened to me.
THE FIRE MOVEMENT HAS GOT IT WRONG
It really isn’t about saving and being frugal till you have enough money to retire. This is where I think those following the FIRE Movement have kind of got it wrong.
Making huge sacrifices is actually a huge opportunity cost in time and money for living with financial independence right away and now.
And taking huge risks with things like Bitcoin and CRYPTOS and borrowing excessively to ride a property boom in prices, but taking on huge debt that you can’t service…
Well, of course these things can help to accelerate your wealth if you get lucky with your timing of market conditions. You actually need to be spending all your time studying the market conditions.
Wealth is not financial independence.
It can help you live with financial freedom for sure.
But there are many rich people who are burdened by responsibilities, that their money can’t buy back in time lost.
Remember, time is money.
I go into what are the eight levels of financial independence in my next video. So do subscribe to the SMARTMONEYJULIE YOUTUBE channel, if you want to learn more.
Financial independence truly is achievable for anyone and everyone. Especially if you have a realistic game plan and a real Financial Independence Action Plan that helps to set up this lifestyle choice for you.
So don’t wait. Download my free Money, life and Happiness audit to help you get started.