Steven R. Covey was one of the most respected business writers, he passed away this year (16th July) but he left a treasure of wisdom that will drive mankind in the right direction for generations to come. He wrote a self-help book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in 1989 which features in the list of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books” by Time Magazine. This book gave birth to cult of business management books – just imagine the numbers, 2.5 crore copies in 38 languages were sold till date. The 7 habits that he highlighted can amalgamate into any field. Bill Clinton once invited Covey to Camp David to help him connect the 7 habits to his presidency. Let’s try to place these habits in finance field & achieve success in our financial lives.
When you will go through these points, you will realize that even your grandma told a couple of them. So achievement will not come from listening, reading or even learning but it will only come from practically using these gems. 7 gems….
Independence or Self Mastery
The first 3 habits talks about moving from Dependence to Independence.
Do you plan for the things or just react to the things. We should be proactive in our financial decisions – plan for the things, you may still not have control over the outcome but it can be based on certain proven principles. Be in anticipation mindset and keep thinking on your likely responses. Also, one should take responsibility of their decision rather than finding scapegoats.
Begin with the end in mind
This is most important point for achieving success in financial life – have goals & then work hard to achieve them. He uses very good analogy “Making sure your ladder is up against the right wall before you start climbing”. So if you don’t know the destination, you will keep climbing the wrong ladder – just to realize at some later point that this is not what you were looking for. Also this habit make you a positive person. Some people always have a negative picture of future making them move directionless.
Put first things first
He talks about “all things are created twice” – first in the mind or paper, this happens in “begin with the end in mind” and second in reality. Take example of building a house, first architects create it on paper & then with lot of effort & time it becomes reality, similar is our financial life. Make sure your plan helps you in achieving your life & financial goals. Prioritize the actions according to their importance. So don’t wait for March for tax saving & do something in urgency – make tax planning part of your bigger game.
Next 3 habits will be interdependence or where we can work with others
If you have noticed these days, professionals and companies are talking about mutual beneficial relationship. When you are working with a financial planner it should be a ‘win-win’ for both – you have to remember even he is having same basic goals that you have. If planner or advisor is working in their own best interest or clients are thinking of just their own benefits it will not work. Support and trust your financial advisor. He is human and he also needs a good pat on his back when he is has earned money for you or prepared a roadmap that can lead you to financial freedom.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood
This is very important in personal life & while working with some advisor. One should be a good listener (there is a difference between hearing & listening) & only then can there be some learning. Hearing starts from ears and ends there itself, whereas when you listen, the mind compliments. We as planners are used to hearing (not listening) from clients “I know that” – if you know all those things that I am going to say then why are you here. Same applies to planner, sometimes good interactions with clients takes us to unchartered territories which are more important than money & basic goals.
1+1=11 – this is synergy – the whole is greater than some of its parts. Do you involve your spouse in financial matters – if no; you are missing the combined strength that you people can have. Important financial works can be divided & at the end of day, combined decisions can be taken. Synergy can also come with hiring professionals but if you don’t believe in this go to habit 1.
The Last habit relates to self-upgrading
Sharpen the saw
You must have read the story where a successful woodsman used to cut trees for 1 hour & then sit 2 hours to sharpen the saw. Do you follow the same strategy to upgrade your knowledge in a fast changing world or just working on your money with old skills? Believe me, the whole world makes me think that I am an expert in financial planning, which I am, but I know I am expert till the day I am upgrading myself. The day I switch off my learning, I will be obsolete.
Mahatma Gandhi Said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”