finance

'I help people go from broke to financially successful in a few months. Here's the truth behind those stories.'

You know those stories you see online?

They were struggling with money for years, and then BOOM! In one year, they suddenly saved tens of thousands of dollars, started investing and are living a totally different financial life. 

It’s a bit hard to believe, right? Surely, there’s more to it...

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You’re right. There is something more to the story... but it’s not what you think. 

How do I know? Well, I’ve helped create some of these struggling-to-successful stories.

A few years ago, I started a financial education platform to help people take control of their finances. I worked with financial professionals to create SkilledSmart’s flagship Mastering Money program. 

Many of our students have had incredible results. I’ve seen students go from being broke to saving tens of thousands in a few months; go from terrified of investing to becoming a confident investor; and achieve goals they never thought possible (like buying a property). In fact, some of our students' stories have been featured on TV and in newspapers. 

So, I have a bit of insight into the behind-the-scenes of these seemingly too-good-to-be-true stories.

Here are three hidden truths to these stories that are often not talked about.

1. The before-and-after story is exciting, but the journey in between isn’t that sexy.

When I look at all our students who have transformed their financial lives, it wasn’t the result of one big thing but rather a lot of little steps in the right direction. 

Not so sexy, huh? There’s no drama or clickbait in "a lot of little steps in the right direction." Also, if it’s that simple, how come everyone isn’t doing it? 

Well, because taking little steps in the right direction requires you to know what the right direction actually is, and when it comes to money, most people are winging it. 

They try random things (budgeting templates, investment apps etc) but don’t seem to make any real progress and don’t really know what they’re doing.

That’s where a lot of our students are when they find us. They’ve been trying to get to a destination without a map, and are stuck in the same place or going in circles. 

Once they have a clear, step-by-step roadmap to follow, making progress isn’t a miracle. It’s actually pretty straightforward... because they just follow the steps. All it takes is lots of little steps in the right direction to add up to some remarkable results over time.

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2. Dramatic life changes are inspiring, but take more than just work.

The struggle-to-success stories in the media often focus on what a person did to get to their goal. 

How did they save? How did they invest? What did they invest in? 

But that isn’t the whole picture. Making big changes in your life isn’t just about what you have to do, but who you have to become. A common phrase I hear from students who have gotten big results is: "I don’t even feel like the same person I used to be."

Your current financial situation is a result of YOU: your choices, lifestyle, and mindset. For the outcome to be different, the inputs have to be different. 

I often see that our students who have made big financial changes in their lives were willing to face some ugly truths, let go of what wasn’t working, and embrace new ways of doing things.

For our student Bianca to get debt-free in six months, she had to confront her spending habits. For Sara to go from broke to $50k in 18 months, she had to face her bank account. 

It can take a lot of humility and courage to let go of the old way of doing things and be willing and ready to accept a new way. It’s one of the hardest but most necessary parts of change. 

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3. Everyone wants big results, but you need big enough reasons to achieve them.

The struggle-to-success stories sometimes miss a really crucial element: what drove the person to make that change in the first place? 

Many of our most successful students (the ones who put what we taught into practice, who changed their financial lives the most, the fastest) were those who had a compelling reason to. 

Sometimes it was a big goal they wanted to reach (like Elena who saved $8k in eight months for a trip to Europe). Other times, they were so tired of being financially stressed that they were determined to turn the ship around (like Jacqui who wanted to start over at 50 after a divorce, and got debt-free and built $10k in savings in less than 10 months). 

Either way, it was this reason that made them willing to take action and willing to keep pushing forward when things got challenging. 

You have to want change. There’s no substitute for this. Your desire for change has to be strong enough to motivate you and pull you through the inevitable discomfort you’ll face on the journey. 

The great news is that for anyone who really wants it, changing your financial life is possible. I haven’t yet met someone who, after putting in the work to change, wanted to go back to how it was before. So, it must be worth it. 

Paridhi Jain is the founder of SkilledSmart, an independent financial education platform helping adults learn to save and invest their money. For more money tips, you can grab a free e-book on "5 Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands" via their  website, and follow them on Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.

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