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  • Writer's pictureKelechukwu “Chu” Oparah

Linchpin Logic

Three things you can do today to right size your cash flow

It’s Cinco de Mayo, and that has me thinking about food.

As a kid, I watched my dad, the son of a successful baker, cook food and bake bread.

He always did so with a smile, and he made it look cool. The rhythm of kneading dough would often turn into a song or a poem that he’d later publish.

Standing around and watching other people work is not our custom, so it didn’t take long for me to want to learn from the master chef and participate myself.

Ok, so my dad isn’t a chef. He’s a psychologist and college professor. Nevertheless, I thought everything he made was amazing, and so did everyone who ever came over to visit our house. As an immigrant family connected to college campuses, we had house guests often.

I learned a great many lessons from my dad about cooking, but the most foundational lesson was how to safely and efficiently use the basic kitchen tools. Most notably, it was the knife. My dad taught me how to chop vegetables and cube chicken or beef--or goat--with a really sharp knife, by making those tasks my job night after night until I got pretty good at it.

When I got pretty good at it, I started to believe I could cook anything because for me there was no longer any “hard part” to cooking. Once I mastered knife skills, I seemed to be able to pick up on all the other things pretty quick.

Knife skills are foundational to cooking. Without them, I find that even when injury is avoided, many people endeavor to make their favorite dishes, only to have their attempts fail to meet their expectations. Then instead of going back and developing that skill, they take on the identity as one who can’t cook.

I teach the seven money milestones of financial freedom. They’re all incredibly important, but similarly to knife skills, there’s one concept that if we don’t develop a skill around, all the rest of the concepts will fail to meet our expectations. That concept is Cash Flow. Cash Flow is the beginning and end of any financial plan. It determines the number of goals we can tackle and the speed at which we can accomplish them.

Let’s say you have spent some time with me in my practice, and you’ve learned how to save money in the best possible ways to minimize your risk and maximize your opportunities to achieve your preferred future. If there’s $50 to put toward implementing that new knowledge, it’s going to take a lot longer to arrive in the future you want than if you had $500 to throw at your goals.

Sooooo, what can be done? Here’s three things you can do today to right size your cash flow.

  1. Get Clear - When you know with specificity who you want to be in your family and community, it becomes possible to get objective clarity about where you are now financially in light of who you’d like to be.

  2. Map It - Once you know where you are financially and where you’d like to be, it’s time to draw a map to get there. This step can truly be accelerated with the help of a financial professional, especially one who’s prime directive is to provide an educational experience for you. That way, you can run the numbers on any number of options available to you before you decide how to proceed.

  3. Scale It - Once you know what it will take to get to a savings amount that will get you where you want to be, there are two elements you can adjust to become better equipped to pay yourself effectively. Income and Budget. With Budget, the game is telling your dollars what to do, so that they’re on a mission to serve what’s most important to you. With Income, we’re looking for opportunities to increase our income that are equal to the volume you need to accomplish your goals. I could write a whole segment about this bit, and one day, I will.

If your cash flow is strained, you might have responded like most who throw up their hands and say, “I just can’t save,” when your efforts fail to meet your expectations.

You may be an undiscovered talent at saving if you develop some skills around Cash Flow. If you’d like to check what you think you know against what you should know to achieve your goals in today’s environment, hit me up on social media and get an invite to the next How Money Works workshop!


Kelechukwu “Chu” Oparah is a Licensed Financial Professional Serving your Dayton Community. For more content, Chu is on Instagram @chuoparah.

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