Earlier this month we explored common beliefs about money that either limit or enlarge our horizons. Now let’s talk specifics, stating the obvious first! Compounding interest is the way to go for long-term wealth creation. Beyond your 401K though, you probably have your own tools and tricks for feeding your piggybank.
Here are a few of our favorite methods
Make a Plan & Stick to it
There are many budgeting tools at your service. Do a little research and find one that fits best for your lifestyle. You might consider a simple plan of using 80% of your net income for expenses, 10% for giving, and 10% for saving. Or you might like the “PIGS” plan where you divide your net income after expenses into quarters, then use 25% each to Play, Invest, Give, and Save. Tracking spending is a must, but choose what works best for you. It doesn’t have to be complex or trendy. Whatever is easiest to execute is usually the best choice. Be disciplined in your approach and give it time to work. You can always make changes and adjustments in the future.
Make One Simple Commitment
Commitment is a powerful way to set growth into motion. We sometimes think of commitment as a burden or as something that constricts our freedom, but freely chosen commitment is actually the foundation from which all good things grow. Psychologist and author, Gay Hendricks, offers this perspective on commitment: Commitment is “the rock beneath our feet. It’s not a gun to our heads—it’s the energy source that’s turned on by marshaling all our resources toward a chosen vision. When commitment really works, people feel it as an open space through which they can express their highest potential.” Choose to invest in something you can fully commit to and then relish each step toward your goal. Just one commitment made with this kind of vision and freedom can produce impressive results. Commitments also help order our choices. If I am freely and fully committed to losing 10 pounds it’s easier to pass on the doughnut.
Build a team of advisors and professionals you trust. You don’t have to know all the answers for accomplishing your financial goals, you just need to know the people who do. Partner with experts in the financial world and share with them your priorities. Your team should consist of professionals who are both excellent in their skills and who are approachable. It is important to feel a level of comfort and trust when talking about the valuables of your life. If your financial team needs some spark, we just happen to know some fantastic accountants who would be happy to talk with you.
Create & Contribute
Despite what many marketers would have you believe, you are more than a consumer. Your purpose on the planet is larger than the amounts you can spend, consume, and acquire. You are a creator and a contributor. Just let that sentence roll around in your mind for a few seconds: you are a creator and a contributor. Once you have basic satisfaction with your lifestyle, think about how much money you are devoting to your creative pursuits (which may or may not be financially profitable), and how much money you are contributing to the flow for the benefit of others. Money needs to circulate in order to grow. For example, rather than think of beauty as a personal commodity that depends on your purchasing power, think of beauty as collective communal value that you can use your resources to nurture. In that case, rather than overspending on fashion, you might choose to invest that money in creating a beautiful experience, delicious meal, a garden, or a playground. Invest your money in service of what you love most.
In the accumulation of wealth there is always an internal battle between the things one wants to amass for one’s Golden Years and the things that are enticing and exciting now. It is imperative to maintain a sustainable long term plan, but not to an extreme that leaves no resources for current enjoyment. Once a long term plan is developed, keep the long term dollars for the long term. Continue to contribute according to your plan and allow that money to grow for future needs and enjoyment. It is important to gain the fundamental knowledge of investing those dollars, or to find a professional investment advisor to assist in that process. Understanding that the investment environment is fluid and subject to risk is critical in deciding how to make your savings grow in a way that fits your comfort zone.
Wonder Wins Over Worry
There are few things in life that we worry about more than money. We feel that our sleepless nights and anxious efforts are justified because money is essential for our livelihood. We understand that the results of poor money-management are often quite painful. No matter how necessary it feels though, worry does not serve our highest good and restricts our creative ability to find strong solutions to our difficulties. Next time you feel the anxiety rise, switch from worry to wonder. Wonder about anything you are worried about for two or three full, deep breaths. Whatever you focus on magnifies. The more you look for what is not working, the more you begin to feel like a dog chasing its tail. Gay Hendricks notes, “When you shift into wonder, you enter the field of possibility, leaving behind the world of limitation.” Instead of worrying, “Will I have enough money to retire at 65?” change your mindset and ask, “I wonder how we could have plenty of money to do what we want to do?” You will feel the shift in your body and your creative energy will begin to flow again.
The One-Hour Solution
Author Richard Carlson offers this suggestion: commit to spending one hour a day, uninterrupted, on the “critical inch” of your business. Commit one hour to what is most important. This hour could be spent in different ways on different days according to the needs of your business, but keep in mind that we all tend to avoid certain tasks we don’t enjoy. Over time our attitude of neglect begins to clog the arteries of our work, slowing the flow. It also produces an uneasy feeling in our bodies when we avoid responsibility for something that truly needs attention. An honest hour’s effort each day breaks the blockage and restores power to the system, both internally and in our work!
The Change Jar
In the spirit of playfulness and as an easy way to involve your family members, keep a jar beside the door for extra change. When December 1st rolls around, count the money and you may be surprised to find you have an extra $200 just when you need it most. In our household this looks like a brightly colored piggybank from the 1970s that is about the size of an actual pig. It’s always a little magical to see how quickly and easily spare change adds up!
Wealth consciousness is both art and science, but need not seem impossible or intimidating. The opportunities for growth are abundant! We wish you much success in your endeavors!
For more inspiration and information, we recommend:
Don’t Worry, Make Money: Spiritual and Practical Ways to Create Abundance and More Fun in Your Life by Richard Carlson
The 10-Second Miracle: Relationship Breakthroughs in No Time Flat by Gay Hendricks
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill