Have you ever heard the phrase, “the harder I work, the luckier I get?” Often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the quotation has become a credo for ambitious folks everywhere. Having grown up in an Irish family that takes our Irish heritage very seriously, I have been surrounded by lucky proverbs and shamrocks all of my life. And while St. Patrick’s Day makes us all feel the need to pretend to be Irish for a day, most of the celebrating is steeped in debaucherous behavior, pictures of tiny green men, Guinness, and food coloring. So, what about the luck of the Irish? Is there such a thing?

This got me thinking about luck and how wealth, good fortune and financial strength often go hand in hand with what one thinks of being lucky. In my years in business, I have come to realize that luck is a strategy, and not necessarily a divine happening.

Many people have delved into the topic of skill vs luck, and Michael J. Mauboussin boils it down in his book The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing, by saying that if you can lose on purpose, strategy matters. If you can’t, you are dealing with luck, pure and simple. At Shaw and Associates we love the idea of luck, but we know you can make your own if you think strategically about your future and your finances.

When it comes to great financial performance, we have witnessed the proof that success factors are tied to planning and careful thought rather than wishful thinking. So, here are a few ways we think you can work on reaching the pot of gold you are seeking without having to rely solely on hope and prayer.

Make a Budget and Stick with It: Budgeting may not be your favorite word, but if you use a budget, it does give you the opportunity to see very clearly where your money goes each month, and how you can plan for expenses on the horizon. Some clients have said that simply having a budget has changed their life and allowed them to sleep at night.

Reduce your Debt: This may seem obvious, but if it was the norm, everyone would be doing it. When you eliminate debt, you have more control and you will regain the freedom that comes with letting go of the binding chains that debt creates. It may not be easy, and it may be an arduous process, but the peace that you will regain will be completely worth it.

Have a Plan for the Future: When you have a clear plan, you are better equipped to make financial decisions. Short-term thinking leads to short term results, but big-picture thinking gives you the impetus to reach those stretch goals you set and be prepared for what comes your way.

We hope your St. Patrick’s Day is filled with the green-laden party that we have all come to know and love, and keep in mind that when you think strategically about your finances, you will keep the green in your pocket.

If you have questions about budgeting, debt management or general financial planning, contact us at info@kevinshawcpa.com. We offer a judgment-free consultation that can help you see a clearer financial picture.