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You, Inc: Manage Your Money Like a CEO

"If you managed money for ‘You, Incorporated’ the way you manage money for you now, would You hire you?"

That’s a question Dave often asks. The idea is that you should always be aware of how you are managing your income—and, if you were your own company (which you are, really), would your current money habits make you an attractive hire?

If you can’t answer that question with a firm “yes,” then maybe it’s time to rethink how you are managing your money. In fact, scratch that last sentence. It is time to rethink how you are managing your money.

So as the CEO and owner of “You, Incorporated,” what are some ways you can start taking control of your money?

1. Take responsibility.

Realize that whatever happens with your money is your responsibility. You’re the CEO of your income, so all of the good and all of the bad lands on you. That bounced check? It was your job to know what was in your account. That awesome mortgage refinance you made? Hey, great job!

2. Delegate.

Steven Neuner, president and co-founder of Alkali Benefits and Insurance Services in Plano, Texas, says, “I had to let go of the thought that the only way our company could go further was for me to make all of the decisions and work harder and longer.

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You can’t do it all. Accept it.

As the CEO of your life, find people who are willing to help you out—but be sure to return the favor. If you’re married, both you and your spouse can compare strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks in which you struggle. But, remember, you still need  to be involved!

If you’re single, delegation might come in the form of making a list of priorities. In other words, delegating less important stuff to yourself—for later.

3. Work as a team.

Though the name may tell you otherwise, You, Inc. is not a solo venture. You need someone else for accountability, whether it’s your spouse or a close friend. Does this mean that person will be “all up in your business”? In a way, yes. But, remember, the best CEOs have a board or another leader to keep them in check.

4. Communicate.

Once you have someone in place to hold you accountable as the CEO of You Incorporated, seek their feedback. “By talking through tough decisions with others, you gain their perspective and usually some keys to solving the problem or making the decision. I pool their thoughts with my own to come to a decision that I am comfortable with,” says Alana Ward, president of Baggett Heating & Cooling in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Be honest and open about your strengths and weaknesses. This is especially important if you’re married. You’ll never reach your potential as a married couple when you don’t know what each other is doing. In other words, don’t keep separate checking accounts!

And as always, “be slow to speak and quick to listen,” says Jonathan Frase, president of Frase Protection in Memphis.

5. Plan for the future.

As owner of Interior Treatments by Camille Moore, Camille knows that being a visionary is important. “Think bigger than where you are today and arm yourself for the next step.”

Both short-term and long-term planning are extremely important. You need to know how you’ll be spending your money this month, as well as where you want to be financially five years from now. Set written goals and revisit them regularly to see how you’re progressing.

Brad Tibbs, owner of Boise Auto Clearance, says being successful in business requires intentionality, which means stopping the daily grind long enough, and on a regular basis, to look beyond today, set some goals, and then plan strategic steps to reach those goals.

Whether you like it or not, you’re the CEO of your life.

Any good CEO knows you have to be willing to change and grow to succeed as a company. In which of these five areas does You, Inc. need to make some changes?

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