It started with a trip to a yard sale. While we had been talking about bringing a new family member home, we had no idea when or what she or he might look like; in fact, we hadn’t thought much about what specific pet we were looking for at all. We knew that whatever we chose had to be easy to take care of and nurture and be something that we could watch grow with our family and be a part of our everyday lives. Call it fate. We won a goldfish at the yard sale and took it home. Why not? While certainly not a unique pet– (did you know the goldfish is the most popular aquarium fish in the world?) – it met our need for ease of care. Goldfish also live longer than any other domestic fish, so it was a good financial investment, right? We took Goldie home and put him in a fish bowl, but very quickly realized he needed a lot more tank space, so we bought an aquarium. At first he was in a small aquarium. We fed Goldie chicken. He grew and grew. Every year, we put him in a new container. Goldie lived for 20 years, as part of our family, and as I came to learn, part of how I would look at work in the financial services industry and the advice I provide to clients. When talking with clients, while I can help them with accounting and bookkeeping, such as cash flow and credit and savings, I always say, “Start with something small,” just as we did with our goldfish bowl. It could be opening a savings account and investing $20 per month. Then as your money grows, you expand your “tank size.” There are more types of goldfish than any other species, and there are many avenues for investing, but first you have to get into the habit of putting money away on a consistent basis. Write down a vision. Actually write it down. You need to have a clear idea of where you are going, and you need to keep reminding yourself of the goal. Each time we purchased an aquarium, we thought about what we would want to have in it, if we wanted to give Goldie a family, and if so, what might that family look like tomorrow – and the next day, month or year. Along these lines, I start each day with an affirmation. I’m a person with a strong belief in a higher power. I remember that I have control over my life and achieving my goals. The memory of my vision keeps me going. Many have said that goldfish have a memory span as short as three seconds, but this has been disproved by scientists who say that goldfish can remember things for at least five months, if not more. If goldfish can do this, so can each of us, and starting the day off with an affirmation and remembering where we are headed will keep even the poorest of planners moving in the right direction. And make no mistake, ensuring that your finances are organized, in good shape and growing takes movement, a plan of action. Lots of space, warm temperatures and good quality water are the keys to making goldfish grow faster. Your financial growth might depend on steps such as meeting with an attorney, discussing your tax situation with your CPA or obtaining a federal ID number. Taking action each and every day, no matter how small the steps, is critical. At night, goldfish do go to sleep, but they do not close their eyes. Neither can you if you are looking for solid financials. You must always keep your eyes wide open and pay attention to your books and accounting (in other words, start with the right bait) if you want to see exponential growth. Ask yourself, is it time for a new fish bowl?