Similarities of Success in Your Career and Finances

Marshall Rathmell |


As you begin your professional life, you are deliberately focused on making it in your career, hitting all the checkpoints and standing ready to be recognized to move to the next level.  Looking across the ages and stages, there is a point for everyone where they have an increased awareness of their responsibility to manage their finances - beyond managing their budgets. 


When you reach the point where your career is humming along on a satisfactory track you may find along the way you have accumulated some significant resources in your investment accounts.  As you become aware of your accumulated resources, you are wise to devote the same focus to managing these resources, emergency funds, 401K accounts, Roth IRA, regular savings, etc., that you have used to manage your career.


What does managing your career look like?  According to Marlene Wallace, President of Career Concepts, a career management and development firm in Birmingham, the following are several ways to control your career:

  1. Take 100% responsibility for managing your career
  2. Aim for early wins
  3. Grow your personal development
  4. Document your successes


Just like managing your career can put you on a trajectory that amazes even you, there is a similar level of financial achievement with marvelous outcomes.


Here are some suggestions to use these same principles to find financial success. 

  1. Take 100% responsibility for managing your finances.  Define your financial goals, both long term for retirement and short term, such as moving up in housing, funding college for your children or investing in your personal development or business interest.  All these activities have a potential to provide a greater return to you than what you invest. 
  2. Aim for early wins.  Don’t confuse financial goals with consuming goals.  Consuming your resources is spending on items that will have less value than you paid for them.  That doesn’t mean you can’t buy the boat, the jewelry or the car, but truly understand that this is money that will be leaving your circle of wealth.  Stay focused to balance your current lifestyle desires with your future goals that include financial freedom.  Avoid the most costly of mistakes by using too much of your earnings for your current lifestyle.
  3. Grow your financial development by focusing on the behaviors that result in success week in and week out from both a saving and investing perspective.  Use automatic deposits to help you achieve your goals, and don’t depend on willpower alone to make the best decision.
  4. Document your successes by monitoring your accomplishments in both savings and investing to a relevant benchmark.  Your relevant benchmark is not the S&P 500 or other performance measure.  Your relevant benchmarks are your personal goals.  Are you on track to have your retirement funded when you want to retire?


Now for the amazing financial outcome - the point when the magic of compounding kicks in.  You find the amount your accounts are earning is greater than the amount you are depositing, at this point your investments are supercharged and your money is working as hard as you are.  The sooner you manage your financial choices for long term results, the sooner you see the magic of compounding in your accounts. 


It takes focus, staying on track to avoid mistakes and not missing opportunities to reach this point of exponential growth.  Just as in your career, the effort has payoff!


-Sandra Cleveland-