Don’t Let Off the Gas with Your Money

Sometimes we get so comfortable with things in life that we forget to do the small things. We stop dating our spouse after marriage, or we don’t do the small things like bringing flowers home that we did to really prove ourselves during courtship. 

Just because you made a commitment in life doesn’t mean the work has stopped. It’s the same with our finances. We get so casual and think we’ll always have steady income and success that our drive begins to falter…and if you get lazy financially…you’ll likely be catching up once again.

It’s Another Blowout 

I watched my favorite college team a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have cable or satellite at my house, but sometimes head to someone’s house in my family to catch part of a game, but this time I got invited over by a neighbor which is pretty unusual.

I don’t get invited too much because I never go to anything and everyone knows it. I’m so busy that I value my free time and hate to hang out with people that I casually know, it seems like a huge waste of time to pretend to be nice….unless it is a golf scramble, I always go golfing (so you couldn’t find anyone else to play and now it’s the last second and you know my schedule is super flexible so I can be your 4th…meh I don’t care the reason…I’m in) …my wife is the opposite and loves to be everywhere with everyone. Luckily our financial views are the same.

Anyways I decided to go watch the game and hang out with my neighbor. He was busy doing work on his laptop and our team was crushing the other team. It looked like another blow out which wasn’t totally unexpected, but then the other team scored off a turnover and then had a miracle play at the end of the half, and all of a sudden the blowout turned into a game.

Crush Their Souls

Having played a lot of sports growing up sometimes you get comfortable with a good lead. You “let off the gas” and stop doing the things that got you in the lead to start with….and what usually happens is the other team comes back. At the end of a game sometimes a coach goes in to “prevent defense” which means players lay off and give the offense room because the defense doesn’t want to give up a big play to lose. 

However, football fans know what prevent defense does; prevents you from winning the game as the team marches easily down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown as you give the receivers a 15-yard cushion on every play.

The philosophy should be to “Crush their Souls” so that the other team is so demoralized they don’t want to even play anymore. Same with your finances. Kill it!

What is the Minimum?

I hear this and see this all the time. What is the minimum I need for retirement? What is the minimum I need for an emergency fund? Why in the world would you want to plan for the minimum? This is like running 25 miles of a marathon and calling it good. You trained for months, and you ran almost the whole way but you didn’t finish the race. Why do the minimum in life in anything? Who do you know that is successful with the motto “good enough.”

I know finances can be tight or you are just starting out and you want to save for everything, but have big goals and strive for everything in life. People that aim for the minimum rarely accomplish anything significant. If you aim low and accomplish it, have you really accomplished anything? Aim high and you might fail, but at least you tried and can keep trying.

People with low ambition rarely fall into wealth and financial freedom.

Plus if you overload on debt, you end up doing the minimum because so much of your time and effort is spent getting out of the hole instead of climbing the wealth mountain.

Are You Letting Off the Gas Financially

All this made me think about our investments in life. While it is good to plan long-term, our money isn’t always a Ronco cooker where you “set it and forget it,” we need to be proactive and involved in our finances. I’m not talking about day trading or even checking your retirement accounts daily and freaking out about the daily up and downs, but how actively involved are you?

Are you a casual dater who you occasionally get together for drinks and touch base with? Have you divorced your finances and you want nothing to do with them because you have given up? Are you hot and heavy and watching your finances and can’t get enough?

Don’t Get Lazy

You can almost always cut finances and spending. It’s good to review each year at the minimum. Pull up what you spend on things and evaluate. I talked with my neighbor the other day who says he has cut finances to the core. He got a job within three miles so he could bike or run to work. He only has one car for his family…and yet he has a satellite dish on his house with 200 channels and pays $150 a month for that. 

“That’s untouchable,” he told me. I can’t give up my games. Well okay, it’s his life and choice, but when you are looking for things and it’s tight..why get lazy on a few easy things to cut. You’ve already done so much don’t quit before the finish line.

Decreasing Your Savings

I’ve seen people that started off great and had a good game plan, but then made a major mistake toward the end of their working career that messed up their plans. Don’t get a penalty for your finances by getting lax. You have worked hard and feeling entitled to some major purchase can set back years of scrimping and saving.

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