Musings From The Head Dummie
I’ve tried many things throughout my life to help build wealth and retire by age 60. It’s been a hell of a ride and now I’m here. Some of the main things I’ve learned and that have worked for me are spending less than I make and staying out of debt. I know I know you’ve heard all that crap before. But, in my situation it’s as simple as that. Spend less than you make.
This really is the key to building up your nest egg and will allow you to quit work earlier than your workmates and enjoy life. I have to admit right here that I hated working and never found a job outside of my 20 year career spent in the military. Most jobs I had were tedious and I just dreaded going to work. So now I don’t have to. My wife continues to work part-time and I am fully retired and free to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
This is why you go to work and save all that money isn’t it? So we can all enjoy that life after work that everyone dreams about but never really learns how to do. Another thing that’s really important to focus on while you embark on trying to save for retirement and all the other expenses that come along the way. You have to have a LIFE. In other words you can’t forget to live while you try and save and invest wisely. Everybody is different and their life and the kind of life they live will be different. I never like debt so I don’t buy new cars with all their big payments. I hate that. Others might like to drive a new car. I much more enjoyed watching my savings and investments grow.
The Dumb Money
- Doesn’t have a plan to save
- pays on credit
- never pays off the credit card
- lives paycheque to paycheque
- spends more per week than they make
- things are more important than assets
- loves to shop
- has no idea what their life costs
- they never track where the money goes
Even in retirement I’m writing down every day what we spend on food and fuel. That way we can gauge where we are on a monthly basis so we can have more for travel and fun. Don’t do dumb things with your money, start writing down where your money goes every day and get a total at the end of the month. This is what your life costs. This is probably the most important first step you can take. Write it down – every penny coming in and every penny going out. You might find this uncomfortable but it’s important to remember it’s not about deprivation you are doing this, it’s about accountability. Now do this for 3 months and take an average of what you spend and what you’ll have left for savings and investment.
The Smart Money
- writes down what they spend and earn
- never spends more than they make
- eschews debt
- invests money so it grows
- has a retirement plan
- never buys a new car
- accumulates assets and NOT stuff
- makes out a will
- is always looking for a different way to get ahead financially
Keep it Simple
Yes it’s a major cliché but we humans just complicate our lives and continue doing dumb things with money. All four of my kids are what I call money misfits. I don’t know what it is. It could be the economy, it could be lack of opportunity, lack of knowledge etc etc. or it could be their dummies and never listen to personal financial advice. I really wish they would because life is so hard and money so hard to make that keeping most of it and not doing dumb things with it will eventually lead to personal freedom. The day will come when you don’t care what you spend because you won’t be doing it unnecessarily.
Maybe it’s the message I don’t know but none of them listen to me. If they read my blog and my rants maybe one day they’ll get it. I even try reverse psychology moves like saying “What do I know, I own my own house have no debt, have a six figure portfolio, own our car and have monthly pension income”. Go ask one of your friends for advice. They must know better than someone who’s lived it. I do know this, it’s not that hard or some magic formula. You can learn this stuff pretty easily. The library and the internet is stuffed with information on how to get a grip on your finances. You can research all you want and I recommend you do, as soon as you can. Your future retired you depends on it. Or, you can continue on the paycheque to paycheque hamster wheel and never really enjoy your life. Why? because you chose spending over saving, debt over cash and working over retiring early.
Stop Doing Dumb Things With Your Money NOW!
I’m always going to give you my real life examples of what’s worked for me and if it’s worked for me then it will work for you. At the end of the day you have to enjoy spending money less than anyone you know. Know when to sacrifice and give something up so you can leave your job early and have fun later. It does take sacrifice and enjoying a frugal lifestyle. Not cheap but frugal. I want you to think twice before you spend that dollar. Will it make you happy? Why are you spending it? If you do, write it down. Once you take that first step of tracking where your money goes, and knowing what life costs, you will have put a stop to doing dumb things with your money. You can do this!