I have a mission to educate people about their finances help them become the 5 percent of 65-year-olds who retire wealthy and self-sufficient, versus the 95 percent that have a retirement of dependence.

Yes, we should make sure we live for the now, but, at the same time, live for the future. Let’s make sure our monies are going places to store wealth that will pay us for years to come, when we stop working that job.

Let’s find ways to generate income in more than one way, so we have that extra money to invest, and let’s teach our kids to do this as well. Most importantly let’s track our money coming in and going out. Let’s set targets for what we want our money to do for us in the short-term and long-term. Let’s live below our means, and stop using the credit card to make us feel like we have an unlimited supply of wants that need to be served. Let’s train ourselves on what it takes to become millionaires, real millionaires, who have a net worth of one million dollars, versus just a lot of income.

Let’s think like the 5 percent versus the 95 percent.

Track, target trim and train
Start by tracking what you spend and earn. It’s funny to me when, in my mind, I feel like I spent $75 over the past week, but after looking at my notepad and adding it all up, it’s more like $275.

What you focus on expands. Once you start to track your expenditures, from the dollar at the parking meter to the $500 on clothes (you bought on impulse), you start to become aware of where your money is going.

Awareness is always the first step towards transformation. Tracking your money helps with that awareness. If you don’t already do so, buy a small notepad to keep with you, and track every penny you spend as soon as you spend it. You will be amazed to see where your money is going.

Then, once a week, take an hour to look at what areas you are spending money in the most. For example, you may find that you spend $100 a week eating out. Like I said, this tracking is mainly for awareness.

Next, after a month of tracking and seeing how you’re spending your money, you can feel comfortable setting targets for yourself. Targets help your mind–which is constantly bombarded with ways to waste money–prioritize the most important places to invest your money.

A lot of us spend money (without any type of plan), but investing means you are spending your money along the lines of your plan. Use the information from that notepad (and your analysis) to set goals for earning, spending, saving, tithing, investing and even enjoying yourself (you deserve it).

For instance, you might set a goal to have $5,000 in your savings by the end of the year to cover emergencies and then to invest to grow your money. Once those goals are set, every month look to see whether you have accomplished your short-term goals (each month and year), and to see if you are on track for achieving your long-term goals (three, five and 10 years). Adjust your goals according to what’s working and what’s not working. Also, adjust your attitude, especially, each day to remember the goals you have set for yourself. Remember, the goals are important to you, so act like they are.

After you are clear about your goals and you know where your money is going, find the areas of your finances to trim. This has nothing to do with torturing yourself. What it has to do with, though, is living within your means. That means spending less money than you earn.

If you look at your income statement and see that you’re spending more than you’re making each month, ask yourself do you really need that 500-channel cable package, or could you downsize a little? Do you need to have your car washed by someone else every week? Do you need new clothes every week to make yourself feel important? Do you need to have your children in private school.

These are hard, but very important questions to ask yourself. It’s up to you to figure out what you need and don’t need and whether those needs will support you achieving the goals you’ve set in the long run. Make sure you are building wealth, versus a wealthy image that is like a mirror of lies.

Finally, you should be training yourself regularly. Your training is the preparation you need–mind, body and spirit–to become financially free. What have you been doing so far to prepare yourself? It should be surrounding yourself with the people, books and classes that will fill in the gaps between what you know and what you need to know.

Nannette Atuahene-Barrie is a real estate consultant, educator and investor who specializes in helping people become financially free, when you buy a home, sell a home or invest in real estate, through good money management principles and practices. She holds financial literacy workshops regularly in Palmdale, Calif. Find more information at NannetteBarrie.com.