How can jigsaw puzzles help you meet your financial goals? As you may have guessed, there is no direct link. But you can learn a lot about meeting your financial goals from solving a jigsaw puzzle.

If you don’t know what you are aiming for, you will find it very hard

Solving a puzzle without looking at the final picture is very hard. So is saving and investing without knowing why you are doing it. Knowing the end goal is the first step for an effective financial plan. Spend quality time trying to decide on your goal – Be as specific as possible.

Always start with the easy bits

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Start with the easy bits – edges and familiar patterns

You always start with the easy bits when solving a puzzle. You would do the edges first and then look for familiar patterns. Why do different with your financial goal. Always start with the easy bit. Saving a million starts with saving Rs 100 by skipping a movie. Once you have exhausted the easy bits, look for the next easy parts.

Progress is always non-uniform, sometimes fast and sometimes slow

Nearly complete puzzle

Progress is lumpy – sometimes fast, sometimes painfully slow (Source: Flickr)

Like solving a puzzle, progress is always non-uniform. Sometimes you find the right pieces and make significant progress. And at other times, progress is very slow and you get frustrated. This is natural. Do not be fooled in to thinking that progress will be linear.

The hardest part is after you finish the easy bits at the beginning. You can no longer use the algorithm of finding edge pieces and see what fits. Now you have to change your method and think of something different. This is where most people will give up. Key is to know that this part is difficult and progress will be slow. So be patient and keep going. Slow progress now does not mean slow progress for ever. Soon you will learn how to proceed and then you will make significant progress in quick time.

Having a partner makes the journey easy and fun

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Solving puzzle with a partner makes it easy and fun

Solving a puzzle with a partner is always easy. Financial goals are no different. Get someone as your partner – it could be your spouse, parents, friend or even a diary. Having someone to talk to and jointly think about the problem at hand is always easy.

Conclusion

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A large puzzle (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Solving a jigsaw puzzle can teach us a lot about financial planning. Having a clear goal is the most important lesson. Once you have a goal, do the easy bits first. Thereafter be patient and find the next easy bits. Key is to not give and continue to put effort. Soon you will start to make progress and get moving again. The last part is usually easier and fun. Having someone to share the journey with you can make your journey more enjoyable and easy. Find someone who can be your partner and see how well you move forward.

Good luck with your goal and hopefully you will finish your jigsaw puzzle soon.