“Save 10% of your income!”
Thanks to The Richest Man in Babylon for this mantra.
This is a great idea, but there is a caveat; if you’re in debt and have no savings it doesn’t make sense.
Here’s a scenario:
You’re in debt, and maxed your credit card out which you’re paying 19% interest on the balance of $1,000 (this is just a number for educational purposes).
You receive your monthly pay and you “save 10% of your income.” You put it into your savings account which will pay you less than 1% interest and at the end of one year you will have $1,010 BEFORE taxes.
Woot, earned $10… In. One. Year. ????
If you paid off your credit card, you would save yourself $190.
That’s a $180 difference.
Realize that by “investing” in your debt (by paying it off) you’re getting a guaranteed return on your money.
BUT, additional caveat here too; it isn’t just about paying off debt, it is about shifting your mindset that created the debt in the first place.
If not, you’ll find yourself working hard, paying off debt, and then finding yourself back in debt again thinking to yourself, how did this happen?! (on that wheel of Samsara again).
So here are three tips to shift debt (and the secret sauce is appreciation in many forms);
Tip 1# Appreciate your debt will help reduce your debt
Every decision you have made about your finances has been based on what you think will give you the greatest amount of reward over risk. You’ll only choose something if you know it will give you the best yield in your own hierarchy of values.
Resentment can build towards paying off debt, the emotional burden makes it harder and more difficult to pay back (or you might just not want to pay it back at all – and this piling on more guilt).
When you‘re grateful for the money you have borrowed it’s easier to not only generate the money to pay it all back but also to give it back.
Create appreciation for your debt by asking yourself what are the benefits of that debt until you are grateful for it. You’ll then be more likely to have a drive to pay it back (and less guilt on your shoulders too).
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Tip 2# Buy what appreciates, not depreciates
People are in distress financially because of a lack of long term thinking and drawn into short term spending.
This was proven in the Marshmallow experiment in the 1960’s. Children were given two options, have one marshmallow now or wait a little longer and receive two.
The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive their second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. Oh and more money in their accounts.
The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years and over and over again, the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeeded in whatever capacity they were measuring.
So, think about your last 5 purchases. Will they appreciate in value (or you have a mapped out plan to know how to recoup the investment? Or were they depreciating or just plain pleasurable purchases (AKA, you ate the first marshmallow and didn’t patiently wait)?
To build wealth, the idea is to buy less depreciating assets and obtain assets that will appreciate in value. Why? Because you are investing in your long term financial future. You’re less focused on the instant gratification, pleasure drug it, more self governed. But hey, you can’t do this unless you have mastered the next tip.
Tip 3# Appreciate wealth
Let me repeat the message from the number 1 tip, that every decision you have made about finances has been based on what you think will give you the greatest amount of reward over risk. You’ll only choose something if you know it will give you the best yield in your own hierarchy of values.
Therefore, we spend money on our highest values.
AND, we’re in debt according to our hierarchy of values.
Change your values, change your wealth potential. (delete (which means less likely to be in debt too).
Any value you have that is ABOVE building wealth, saving and investing, growing finances you’ll spend your money on. So hence why, the lower it is, or if it is not on your list of priorities, then it is very difficult to grow wealth.
If you want to shift to increase your wealth potential, then ask yourself how does building wealth/saving and investing/growing finances (whatever statement is the best for you) serve each of your values.
Make links to each value so many times until you see a strong connection. You’re certain your values will be met when you focus on building wealth/saving and investing/growing finances.
Then, when debt has shifted and it now makes more sense to “save 10% of your income” then the next hurdle is to get comfortable with risk so you can grow your little honey pot.
So to wrap up this week in a nutshell, appreciate your debt, appreciate your wealth, buy assets which appreciate and you’ll appreciate yourself for it.
A truckload of appreciation to you for reading until the end,
P.S. I’m not a financial advisor, I have jedi mind skills. Please do your research on your own figures to see what the best strategies are for your financial situation.