When I work with clients to begin helping them achieve financial freedom, many of them are focused on the mechanical process – what spreadsheets they need, where do they find the numbers to get a handle on their income and expenses, etc.

Don’t get me wrong.  All of these things are important and have their place in financial planning.  But usually, the first place I like to start is by working on creating the right mindset.

In creating the right mindset, I start with secret word #1: Attend.

Attend means to “pay attention”.  The reason that so many people are in financial trouble is that they live their lives on autopilot financially.  The fact of the matter is that, when you do this, you are almost certainly headed for disaster.  The most fundamental mindset change people can make is to start paying attention to where all of their money is going.

I tell people that paying attention to where your money is going is akin to the GPS in your car.  In order for your GPS to take you to where you want to go, it must first know where you are starting from.  Dealing with money is exactly the same.  You can’t figure out where you are going until you know where you are.

So – rule number 1 of financial freedom:  Condition your mind to pay attention to where every dollar of your money is going.