Managing finances can be an adventure. There are many pitfalls that can interrupt your personal financial journey, and it can be easy to lose sight of your goals. Mapping out your personal financial story, however, can help you determine what stage you are in and give you a better idea of what to expect later on.
Screenwriter Christopher Vogler outlined 12 stages of the hero’s journey in his book, “The Writer’s Journey.” Following is a look at each of those stages and how they can apply to your personal financial journey.
Stage 1: The Ordinary World
This is where you are before you begin your financial journey. It represents your daily routine before you start working toward your financial goals.
Stage 2: Call to Adventure
Before you can begin your adventure, know what you hope to achieve on your journey. Your call to adventure is when you realize you need to make changes in order to achieve your goals. In heroic stories, this is when the hero is faced with a problem or an obstacle they must overcome. In your financial story, it’s when you decide you want to build your savings to achieve something specific, such as buying a new car or house, or when you decide to implement a strict strategy to pay down debt.
Stage 3: Refusal of the Call
Unfortunately, being called to adventure doesn’t always mean you will begin your journey. Refusing the call may be the first obstacle you encounter. You may decide it will take too long to reach your goal. Maybe you’re unwilling to make any sacrifices to your budget that will help you build your savings to meet your objective. It’s unlikely your financial adventure will be easy, but if you push past these types of negative thoughts, you will be on your way.
Stage 4: Meeting the Mentor
You’re not alone on this journey. There are many people you can lean on for support. When it comes to savings, there’s no place better to find your mentor than Frontier Bank. Contact Brad Lupkes, CFP® at 1-800-341-2265 or email@example.com to learn how we can help you on your financial adventure.
Stage 5: Crossing the First Threshold
This is the beginning of your adventure — the point where you leave your old normal behind and start making changes that will help you achieve your goal. That could mean using a snowball payment strategy for your debt. With a snowball plan, you apply for payments from debts you have eliminated to other debts to pay the debt down faster. It could also mean changing your budget by cutting down on entertainment expenses so you can put more money into savings.
Stage 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies
On your journey, you will face many hurdles that could impede your progress. You will be tested — perhaps with a sale at your favorite store. Taking advantage could give you instant gratification but would delay your ability to meet your goal. You will meet allies — think tax refunds, an increase in salary, or an annual bonus. How you utilize these allies could help you reach your financial goal even faster. You will face enemies — unexpected house or car repairs could force you to dip into your savings or rely more on credit. Enemies can delay your progress, but they don’t have to stop you from achieving your goal. It’s important to deal with them and keep moving forward.
Stage 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave
The inmost cave is where your ultimate villain resides. This stage is where you finalize preparing all the strategies you have developed to conquer the biggest obstacles standing in the way of your financial success. This could include meeting with a credit counseling service to devise a plan to eliminate your debt. It could mean taking advantage of saving tools at your bank that you had not previously considered. Be sure to meet with your banker to find out what tools you can implement in your plan.
Stage 8: Ordeal
The ordeal is when you face your ultimate villain or, in other words, when you put your plan into place. It’s the part of your journey that has the greatest potential for ending your quest. Whether your villain takes the form of excessive debt, a lack of understanding of how to save or a propensity to indulge in impulse shopping, the strategies you developed previously will help you slay your enemy. While new obstacles, such as unexpected expenses, can arise at any time, it’s crucial that you stay the course and don’t give up on your plan.
Stage 9: Seizing Your Sword
Here is where you start to see the benefits of all your hard work. In this stage, you receive a big reward. With finances, it could mean eliminating a specific debt that allows you to pay off another debt even faster. It could also mean that one month — due to the strategies you’ve implemented — you are able to put twice as much as you normally would toward paying off a debt or adding to your savings. Whatever represents your “sword,” this is something to celebrate.
Stage 10: The Road Back
The positive feeling you get through the reward you received in Stage 9 can go a long way toward developing lifelong habits. After you achieve your goal, it’s important to continue to implement the strategies you used as you travel back to your ordinary world. That way, you can avoid taking on too much debt and ensure that you continue to build your savings for the future.
Stage 11: Resurrection
This stage represents the hero’s final confrontation with his or her enemy. This is where you achieve your final goal, putting you on the right track toward financial independence. Whatever form your ultimate villain took — inability to budget and save, lack of financial knowledge — you have conquered that beast and emerged with a new lifestyle that will allow you to continue to achieve your financial goals.
Stage 12: Return With the Elixir
Now that you have slain your personal financial beast, you return home with an “elixir” for a new life. Not only are you equipped with new tools for eliminating debt and building savings, but you can also implement tools such as credit and budgeting to help you better manage your finances in the future.
Start Planning Your Adventure
Managing finances is a lifelong journey with many adventures along the way. You can start planning your next financial adventure by visiting Frontier Bank. Our bank staff can help you find the right tools to meet your goals and ensure a brighter future.
Provided by the Iowa Bankers Association