This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust. All opinions are my own.
In front of thousands of people and my family, I sat on a chair on the basketball court, decked out in my red cap and gown, and waited for the moment the College of Arts and Sciences department chair would announce, “Brian Robben, summa cum laude.”
While waiting, I knew I did it.
It seemed like yesterday when I arrived as a baby 19-year-old at Miami University. Four years later, I accomplished everything I set out to on that first day of freshman year.
I wanted the perfect GPA: check.
I wanted the impeccable resume so I, and only I, decided my future career: check.
And most importantly, I wanted to become a man who built the character to always chase his dreams: checkmate.
All the long nights and early mornings through the classrooms, libraries, and sidewalks in Oxford, Ohio led me to this graduation ceremony.
It was in this moment of realization that I’ve never felt more confident about my future. And not because of my grade point average or resume, that couldn’t mean less now as an entrepreneur.
The reason I felt so excited about my future is because I developed the intangibles I needed to take my success.
In my time at Miami, I learned what it truly meant to work hard, work smart, and hustle more than I thought possible.
Those are the principles I gained that no one can ever take away from me in the future. So I felt 100% confident that nothing could get in my way going forward. And nothing has.
Just like I felt that night about my future after college, I want to feel the same way about my finances.
Because money is only a problem when you don’t have enough of it and it controls your daily decisions. But when you learn how to master it, money works for you to make your life more satisfying.
So let’s uncover what financial confidence looks like and how you can achieve it.
Financial Confidence Looks Like This
For me, the word confidence boils down to self-assurance and trust in your ability. And financial confidence looks the same way: trusting that my finances are going to support me going forward.
Feeling confident about my finances takes many shapes and sizes from defensive to offensive. It manifests itself in the mentality that I’m going to survive and thrive in any financial climate.
On the defensive, I’m prepared if another recession hits.
For example, I have six sources of income. So if people stop buying my coaching, I can still make money each day through book sales, social media marketing, and dividends.
I’m also an entrepreneur by design so no company can fire me and tell me they’re going to stop paying me. I make my own money.
And if I face an unexpected medical bill, God forbid, I have the emergency fund to cover the costs. An expensive medical bill would be a minor setback but not a crushing defeat.
I’m confident because no external event can wipe out my ability to make money or my previous savings. Sure, a bad economy would hit my wallet, but it can’t take away everything so I’ll always be fine on an income-perspective.
And I have a boatload of money invested in the stock market, which is paying me dividends that I’m reinvesting every quarter to get fatter dividend checks. Even if stock prices crashed, I’d go on the offensive and buy more at discount prices.
Speaking of the offensive, since I saved up an emergency fund, have multiple income streams, and a solid investment portfolio, I can make confident moves to grow my money.
I’m free to aggressively invest more than half of my income because my backside is covered. It’s fun to be on the attack thanks to my financial confidence.
The bottom line is that financial confidence means I’m prepared for the future, good or bad, bull market or bear market. I’m ready and secure to handle anything that comes my way.
There’s no pressure or stress when it comes to money. I’m a man with a plan and all I have to do is execute.
If I do that, I’m going to continue to get richer in the process. So as each year passes, I’ve put myself in a better place toward financial freedom.
Now you might say, “Financial confidence sounds amazing and I want that feeling for myself. But how do I get there?”
Follow these 5 steps and your bank account and confidence will soar.
5 Steps To Gain Financial Confidence
1. Know your WHY
I believe your WHY is your anchor in this journey to financial confidence. In other words, your WHY comes down to who are you doing it for and what’s your emotional reasoning?
Do you want financial confidence so you can be and give more to your spouse, children, aging parents, church, nonprofit? Or do you finally want to live the lifestyle of random vacations and adventures you’ve always dreamed up? (No shame about that.)
The reason this is important is because if you don’t have an emotionally compelling reason to save more, spend less, and invest for your future, then this is going to be like a New Year’s resolution that dies a quick death in January. That’s meaningless.
So it’s wise to take some time to get extremely clear on why you want this. And then envision yourself making it to your dream financial destination.
When you’re emotionally committed to your WHY, you’ll have the motivation to stick this out and follow steps 2, 3, 4, and 5.
2. Join the onUp movement
When you sign up for the onUP movement, you’ll receive emails with tips to help you manage your money and take steps toward financial confidence.
And I highly recommend you sign up for this emails. Because the single most effective way to get wealthy is financial intelligence. “The more you learn, the more you earn,” right?
For an example of the power of financial intelligence, consider these very real scenarios.
Someone making a measly $35,000 a year, who is financially intelligent and resourceful, will get the most out of their income to work for them through investing. Over time their bank account grows and they never have to stress about their money, even though they don’t make much.
Where another individual can make $500,000 a year but since they’re clueless about how to manage their money, they’re always broke and overwhelmed with money problems. That’s why it’s not a surprise when some athletes and celebrities go bankrupt—they make millions but it doesn’t make up for not knowing how to handle their money.
My hope for you is that you gain control of your money and get freedom to focus on what makes you happy. If you want to start building your financial confidence today, click here to join the onUp movement.
3. Save at least 20% of your monthly income
You’ll never get ahead financially if you’re spending all the money you’re making. The only way to make progress is to save more than you spend.
And I believe you should save at least 20% of your income. By saving this much each month, you’ll be able to spread it around to three important areas:
- Your emergency fund
- Your investments
- Your expenses
If you say you can’t save 20% of your monthly paycheck because you don’t make enough, that’s no excuse in my book.
There are plenty of solutions to your income problem:
- Pick up a second job for nights and weekends
- Produce more results at your job then ask for a raise
- Negotiate your salary
- Seek a higher-paying job
- Spend less money on unnecessary purchases
- Downsize your place or get a cheaper car
- Take less extravagant vacations
(Depending on your income and cost of living, saving this much may be difficult or easy. If it’s difficult, start building your way up to 20% and make that your goal. If you can comfortable save 20% no problem, then I encourage you to bump up that percentage.)
4. Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund helps you weather any financial storm. Knowing you have money stored away for a rainy day is a huge boost of financial confidence.
I personally have $1,000 saved in my emergency fund when I need it, for one, and mainly for peace of mind.
How much money should be in your emergency fund? Experts debate it from recommending you have 6 months of living expenses (living expenses equals the total costs of your bills each month, in this case multiplied by 6), to 12 months, or a flat total of $1,000 or more.
So start putting away some money into a separate savings account that is solely your emergency fund. Don’t mix it with another checking or savings account, oy you’ll be attempted to spend this money.
The best part is once you reach your emergency fund goal, you no longer need to contribute money to it. You’ll now have extra money to invest in yourself and the stock market.
5. Invest at least 10% of your monthly income
I’ll never forget the quote, “You don’t have to be rich to invest, but you have to invest to become rich.” It’s so simple, yet powerful!
To get your money working for you, invest 10% of your income each month in the stock market.
What should you invest in? Good question.
In my Amazon bestselling book Freedom Money, I recommend everyone buys stock in a S&P 500 index fund—which has produced on average 7% to 10% gains for the past century.
When you get this index fund, you get partial ownership in the giants like Facebook, Amazon, Verizon, and Google. None of those companies are going bankrupt tomorrow. And they’re all bringing in billions of profits (where you get a tiny portion as a shareholder) to put money in your pocket without ever stopping.
That’s it! You now have the five-step playbook to financial confidence.
Follow those five steps to financial confidence and then you’ll walk with your chin up, have a new strut in your step, and sleep like a baby.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.
The onUp Movement is 1 million strong…and growing. onUp is about having the confidence to move forward one smart step at a time.
Join now and start building your financial confidence today.