It’s Rarely About the System

Do you or people you know constantly struggle to find the right “system,” the latest gadget or software, to somehow make your financial life click into place?

For me, it used to be about chasing the newest, best, and most visually interesting thing I could find.

When it comes to money, that usually means the newest and best tracking systems, software, spreadsheet, tool, etc. I’ve tried them all and get bored of them just as quickly.

But I’m a far cry from abnormal–many people love the thrill of chasing the newest and latest, in the hopes that this new tool will somehow change their life situation.

People with weight problems jump from diet to diet, WeightWatchers to Jenny, vegetarian to protein-rich. Those who smoke try to quit cold turkey, with the patch, with a pill, with a friend…

For money, it’s the newest account feature, the latest bank to open, the new year release of Quicken, or another mind trick invented by personal finance bloggers. Not to brag, but we are driving the innovation in this field… 🙂

I’m not going to try to help you lose weight or quit smoking. I won’t even try to help you get your money back on track (in this post, anyway).

I just want you to realize one simple truth: It’s Rarely About the System.

So what could it be about?

  • Habits: What you do day in, day out defines you. Your financial habits–when you do your budget, how you act when you need to spend, or how you review transactions–it all has a chance to separate success from failure.
  • Principles: What guidelines are you following to make decisions about your money? Are you prone to bending your own rules?
  • Goals: Have you defined what you’re after and how you plan to get there? Have you made time to create a budget?
  • Systems: Wait a minute… Yes, but a different kind of system. Not the latest tool or software package, but the way you work with your money. Sort of like habits, but better defined.

Do you chase the latest and greatest trends? How has it impacted your finances?

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives