What’s Your Most Important Problem?

What’s the biggest challenge you face with your money, right now?

This sounds like a dumb question, but I invite you to dig deeper, to challenge your assumptions.

Somewhere in your financial life, there is a cancer eating away at your best efforts to make it work, to get ahead. Finding it, acknowledging it, and creating a plan to get rid of it are all key steps to success.

Let’s look at how we can do that.

We Don’t Like Our Demons

Most of us have a vague idea of the issues we face. These are often expressed as acute problems.

“I couldn’t pay that bill this month.”

“I’m head over heels in debt.”

“I think I’m about to get laid off.”

Dig deeper still. What’s the actual issue?

If you think you’re going to lose your job, that’s not the problem. The problem is fear because you won’t know what to do. It could be fear because you have no savings. Lack of savings could be the problem. Better yet, the problem could be the lack of financial discipline to create those savings in the first place.

Now we’re getting somewhere…

If you can’t pay your bills, that’s not the problem either. The problem could be this weekend’s wild party, or settling for a job that doesn’t pay well enough, or having a system that doesn’t remind you about your bills. What did you prioritize above that bill and why?

Do you see what I’m getting at? Dig until you think you’ve got it, then keep digging.

Why Finding One Issue is Important

We are creatures of limited focus and ingrained habits. It’s hard to focus on a list of things, easier to handle just a handful, and easier still to laser-focus on one. Leo Babauta understands and preaches this principle.

It’s equally effective in diagnosis mode.

If you focus on too many problems, too many diagnoses, you end up applying too much medicine. You get nasty drug interactions and unintended side effects. Your efforts fall short in all areas instead of excelling in just a few.

You can spend a year working furiously at six major money problems. Or, you can spend two months working furiously on each one.

Which approach would be more effective? Which one would be more enjoyable? 

Personally, the thrill of pursue-finish-repeat perpetuates itself.

Find the one.

What’s Your “One?”

Do it now–figure out your single biggest issue with money. Then share it in the blog comments and let’s learn from each other.

Mine is an addiction to good food. My wife’s is selflessness, against all odds. I have a feeling all of us are not very different at all.

(Photo credit)

P.S. If you’re curious to see where this is going, there will be a new eBook project coming out in a month or two dealing with the issue of common problems. Stay tuned! By sharing your story today, you’re becoming part of this awesome work.

2 thoughts on “What’s Your Most Important Problem?

  1. It is an issue I am working, but I could use more money. Not to pay bills or necessarily spend. I would just like more to invest or add to savings.

  2. Shopping! I have this compulsion to make a nice big purchase on online shopping websites that have free international shipping (big plus) every month, or month and a half. Like some internal shopping clock nudges me into it, even if I may not (and probably do not) need new clothes.

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