Running a tight ship comes from the idea of a literal ship with tight ropes. This expression alludes to a ship with taught (tight) ropes and well-caulked seams. In other words, everything on the ship, down to the smallest details, is orderly and controlled.
How does this work with my personal finances? I like having my financial house in order, or “tight ship”. Every little bit of outgoings is accounted for, every asset is carefully managed and controlled to ensure that every cent is working to its full potential.
A ship needs to be well caulked, oiled and her ropes tight. These are preventative measures, to ensure everything runs smoothly and the ship can sail straight and true in bad weather. It is said to be true to your finances aswell. You need to ensure they are well diversified, tracked and risk-managed.
This is achieved through a family budget (See Ship’s Ledger) and net worth tracking (See Chart Plotting). Without knowing if you are slowing bleeding money you won’t know the full extent of the damage till it’s either too late or unrepairable.
Here are 6 ideas that I use to run my tight financial ship:
- Emergency fund – Critical for quick hole patches in your hull or finance
- Diversification – Ensure you sail with an armada, spreading your assets wide.
- Risk management – Accepting what you are happy to lose.
- Debt Management – Ensuring you can pay back your debitor, or they will pay you back with blood.
- Insurance – Is giving someone else the risk so you don’t have to carry it.
- Superannuation – Having a nest egg for retirement (Check to see if yours is running like a tight ship)
I do plan to go further in-depth with these topics at a later date.
The moral of this story; is to ensure your finances run like a tight ship, that will be able to weather any storm mother nature can throw. Without ensuring your financial house is in order or well maintained, a small bump or large swell can make you lose all your cargo.