7 Principles of Financial Serenity

When you search for the best retirement advice, it’s the same response over and over: “save your money.” Go figure. But in Steve Medland’s new book, Spiraling Up, you get guidance on what to do once the money is saved based on the 7 principles of financial serenity.

In this episode, Jeremy Keil joins Steve Medland to discuss his book, Spiraling Up, discover financial serenity, make work optional and live happily in retirement. We guide you to financial serenity in retirement with Steve’s 7 principles.

Steve discusses:

  • Making work optional
  • His work in investment management and financial planning
  • Living happily in retirement
  • The 7 principles to financial serenity
  • And more

Related: 7 Questions That Could Make Or Break Your Retirement

1) Focus On What You Can Control

The first of Steve Medland’s 7 principles to financial serenity is to focus on what you can control.

Many of us spend a lot of time railing against new tax laws, politicians or what’s happening in the economy. However, we have very little control over any of those things. 

If we instead focused on the things we can control, we would find that we have much more agency, much more control over our lives and we would be a lot happier.

2) Accept That Wealth Is A State Of Mind

Wealth is a state of mind, and that affects how you manage your money.

Being a millionaire today is not what it was 10 or 20 years ago, so even someone who has a million dollars needs to be very careful about how they manage their money.

But even some people who have tens of millions of dollars think of themselves as penniless.

We need to understand and appreciate what we have, and understand that wealth is a state of mind.

3) Cultivate A Growth Mindset

The concept of growth mindset is relatively unknown.

A growth mindset tells us we can change and improve our lives with work ethic and determination – we just have to put in the time!

Adopting a growth mindset approach to finances you can help you get out of your comfort zone and build the financial life that you want.

4) Understand Your Personal Financial Statement

Next up is understanding your personal financial statement. A personal financial statement consists of your income statement and balance sheet.

As long as you can keep your expenses less than your income, you’ll have a surplus coming in. With that surplus, you can improve your balance sheet, also known as your assets and liabilities. We want to keep your assets higher than your liabilities to maintain and build a positive net worth.

With the surplus, you can pay off your debt or invest in your assets that can produce more income, and when you do that, it creates a positive self-reinforcing cycle.

5) Use Debt Wisely And Pay It Off

Most don’t know how to use debt wisely. However, if you’re smart about your debts, they can quickly become an asset. 

First-time homebuyers are unlikely to be able to buy without a mortgage. Yet this is an excellent example of good debt. 

Once paid off, your home is now an asset and will likely provide you with growth in value for years to come! 

6) Develop Good Financial Habits

One of the best financial habits to have is consistently looking at your finances.

Even if it’s just once a week, you can use a program like Mint where you can see all of your credit, bank and investment accounts in one place to stay up to date on all of your assets, debts, income and expenses.

A good way to build the habit is to tie it to something else that you’re already doing, like getting coffee on your way to work. Once a week, when you go out for coffee, check your finances.

7) Manage Risk

Lastly, to tie off the 7 principles to financial serenity, is risk management.

Managing risk ties into focussing on what you can control and protect against the things you cannot control.

Risk is something you can’t control, but you can certainly manage it.

When we manage risk, we’re trying to plan for the unexpected. The way we do that is through insurance, estate planning and your investments.

A simple way to manage risk in your investments is through diversification. Another way to manage  risk is through insurance; protecting against an unknown, potentially catastrophic event with a small premium payment. Investing in the insurance payment ensures you’re protected if that event takes place.