What is more important over your career, your total income earned or the total assets that you have accumulated over your working career? Obviously the answer is your total assets accumulated over your lifetime. However, many people only focus on their income. They become obsessed with their income and their careers to the point that they are willing to sacrifice their health, their marriage and their family for their career.
Unfortunately, many hard working people end up broke and disappointed at the end of their career. Why? The answer is because all of their efforts were focused solely on increasing their income and careers versus building financial security. This lack of focus on saving and investing dramatically impacts their ability to retire or the quality of life during retirement.
In addition, when an individual’s attention is focused solely on their income, they can end up increasing their lifestyle as a result of their increased compensation. They want the instant gratification for working hard. “Keeping up the Jones” is alive and well in this country and companies spend billions to have us buy into this mindset. As a result, the increase in income is spent to support this new lifestyle. I saw a saying recently that said “Affluenza: Materialism in which one overworks to acquire stuff that adds to debt so one has to work harder.” If this is the case, our country is facing an epidemic!
Conversely, individuals that are focused on saving and investing understand the value of their hard earned money. They see money as tool or a means to an end to accomplish their goal of building their net worth and achieve financial independence. In addition, they are unwilling to increase their lifestyle knowing it will impact their ability to fund their savings and reach their financial goals. In the end it is their unrelenting commitment to spending less and saving more that allows them to achieve their financial goals and objectives.
Ultimately, the choice is ours. We are responsible for the outcome of our lives. We need to understand and accept that our choices have consequences. Therefore, if we want to secure our financial future, we need to start making better financial decisions with our money. We need to set solid financial goals, control our spending, limit our use of credit and set limits on our lifestyle choices. We cannot afford to waste years or decades of our lives consuming our future.
Therefore, the most important question we can ask ourselves is “when will step up and take control of our lives and our finances? The answer can no longer be someday. “Someday” is a day that never comes until it is too late to do anything to change the course of our lives. “Someday” robs us of today. “Someday” is a convenient way for us to settle for less in our lives and hold onto our dreams rather than act on them. We tell ourselves that “someday” we will make it happen. “Someday” we will take action to achieve our hopes, goals and dreams for our lives. We use this convenient excuse because it allows us to rationalize settling for less today. It allows us to believe that the timing is not right in our lives, and that “someday” the timing will be better. We believe the day will come when we will have more money, more time and more resources. The truth is there will never be a perfect time.
Therefore, the only answer is ”Today.” Today is the day you must be willing to step up and start taking control of your life and your finances. Today is the day you take control of your financial future. You can do it!
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