Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Secret of Life and Financial Freedom

May 2, 2010 by Buddy · Leave a Comment 

happy-man-sqThis writer of has a son.  I recently told him The Secret of Life and Financial Freedom.  This little five minute talk is probably worth between 1 and 2 million dollars, really.  It’s value is worth between 1 and 2 million dollars for most Americans.  I don’t want to sensationalize it because I want you to read the rest of the post, but the conversation went like this.

My son is in the military.  He has struggled with academics most of his life, achieving high marks in some schools and reaching certain goals and struggling with others.  The military has been very good for him, and he is a great young man.  After a few years fighting for our country, he became an officer.

My wife and I traveled 600 miles to see him be presented with his stripes.  After the ceremony, fly-over and reception, we went to lunch at a famous local establishment.  There he proceeded to tell me the good news.  After struggling for five years to make ends meet, his pay would almost triple.  What?  Yes, he would be making almost three times what he had been making earlier that day.

I congratulated him again.  His mother teared-up, and I brought the conversation back down to a very serious tone.  “Son, I have been wanting to tell you the Secret of Life for several years and now I have the opportunity. You are about to be faced with an incredible desire for your spending to catch-up to your earnings.  It will be SOOOO easy for you to once again spend, invest, blow, etc all of your income.  As soon as you return to the base you should create a budget out of your existing expenditures and add, say 15% so you can enjoy the fruits of your great accomplishments.”

There was not a pause.  There was not a reflection. There was not an immediate acceptance of the value of this advice.  What returned is, “You don’t understand.  There is NO WAY I can live on what I HAD BEEN making! I was living a dirt poor existence.”

Then I reflected … did I approach him too fast?  Should I have approached him differently?  Our relationship is like that of many parents of young teens and adults.  They cannot be easily taught, but once they learn the facts the old fashioned way, through hard knocks, they realize how smart their parents are.  We have had the “rebound conversation” several times on other issues, so I know one day we will revisit the Secret of Life discussion.

Our connection remains strong and positive.  If he “gets-it” soon, his practice of increasing his savings at a young age could have a substantial effect on his retirement date, retirement status and his quality of life in his senior years.  Your paycheck may not ever triple, but the formula should be the same.  Whenever you receive a windfall, whether a one time payment or a salary increase, save most of it. Pull a token $100 and enjoy a good meal and a cheap bottle of wine.  Draw down $100 and go on a day-trip to a surrounding city and see some sights you have been putting off, but return to normal life and save the rest.  You will be amazed at how fast it will grow through compounding.

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