Want To Accomplish Your Financial Goals? Work Smarter Not Harder / by Jennifer Chan


Financial success doesn’t require overworking yourself to death. In fact, you can forget about tracking how many hours that you spend in the office. You don’t need to be a workaholic in order to meet your financial targets.

I don’t work a Big Law job; I work at a non-profit legal aid clinic. My designated working hours is 8:30 AM - 4:30PM, with the occasional late-night or weekend grind before a hearing. And yet, I am still able to aggressively pay down my debt. It’s not because I make a lot of money -- I don’t. It’s not because my partner has a six-figure salary -- she doesn’t. So how is this all possible?

Here’s the simple solution: I created a solid financial system that has never failed me.

Once I took the time to set-up a realistic framework that incorporated my income and lifestyle, there was little left for me to do. Now, I don’t have to think twice -- how much I save, spend and transfer to student loans is automatically calculated for me. I can now concentrate on more pressing things, such as focusing on the present with an eye to the future.

I perceive my budget as the system’s overarching map. The system needs to refer to my budget in order to know how much money to transfer to my student loans, investments and short-term savings. Only occasionally do I need to alter the map, such as when an unexpected expense comes up or I get a windfall of money (an additional paycheque in June and December).

I don’t consider myself working particularly hard towards my financial goals. Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard to figure out what my financial goals are and what I needed to do in order to get there, but after that I let my system do the heavy lifting.

Control your money before it starts to control you.

Creating my own financial system not only alleviated a lot of my financial anxiety, but enabled me to focus more on the here and now. I’m more present at work and in my relationships, and generally a happier and healthier person.

P.S.: Zach from Four Pillar Freedom also has a great article on this topic. Check it out here.