The Basic Principles of True Wealth
2018 brought the biggest shift in my financial mindset to date. My personal relationship with wealth changed dramatically. But it wasn’t all about the money. Whilst money does factor into wealth, I wanted to describe (in my opinion) the holistic nature of true wealth. This isn’t a get rich quick post by the way. So, if you’ve come here looking for that, you won’t find it. My interpretation of true wealth is about doing the best with what you have right now to encourage financial security in the long term.
What are the Basic Principles of True Wealth?
*Spoiler Alert* In my humble opinion, true wealth is learning to make money work for you over time, instead of just working for money. True wealth is choosing to be responsible with your finances, making sensible decisions and saving. It isn’t sexy. It isn’t flashy. It’s about having your nose to the grind stone, holding yourself accountable and encouraging delayed gratification.
**Disclaimer Alert** I have written this post as a general guide to help my readers, however I am not a qualified financial expert. Although I busted my chops to make this as accurate as possible, Rachael Hope Media accepts no liability for any loss or damage howsoever arising out of the use of this website or reliance on the content of the website.
SORRY! Had to get the formalities out of the way.
A Personal Story
Money seems like a dirty topic to converse over. But how can the average Joe have a chance of learning the importance of finances if NO ONE ever talks about it in the open?
I’m going to start the body of this post with a personal story for some context. I want us both to start at the very beginning and explore this journey together. I’m ashamed of parts of it, because it involves envy and being extremely unproductive. But as always, in the interest of full disclosure and education I will share my story.
At one point in time, I was an extremely envious person. Someone ALWAYS had it better than me, especially when it came to money. I felt that it was unfair, what did they have that I didn’t? In any case what was the point in trying? The whole game is rigged. So, I played victim, instead of taking personal responsibility for my situation. I couldn’t even bring myself to ask the simple question; how?
It turns out the financially sound, work EXTREMELY hard, save, invest and avoid frivolous spending. I can tell you now that I was NOT doing any of this. Obviously, there are the select few that inherit wealth, are lazy and entitled. Tough love time. And what? Are you going to give up trying because some else has it easier than you at face value?
That attitude never helped me. It was easier to assume the game was rigged, rather than other people taking the time to learn something I hadn’t. I finally dropped my assumptions and actually asked some questions. Let’s make personal finances sexy! Too much? I’M SORRY … *shame spiral*
Saving vs Hedonism on Credit
Let’s start with savings. This was always something I considered to be total bullcrap. What’s the point in saving? The world’s going to hell in a handbasket anyway. I want to enjoy myself NOW! Give me the hedonism, give me alllll of it. Bang that bad boy on the credit card. Spend now, think later.
- Was any of it worth it? NOPE.
- Did it help my self-worth? NOPE.
- Do I have anything to show for it? NOPE.
- Am I still paying for it now? YEP.
My brother taught me the saving rule I’m going to outline below when he was visiting last Christmas. This how my personal finance revolution began. He’s always been money savvy, so I finally asked him for some pointers. You know what, he started giving me the low down straight away. All these years of envy, and all I had to do was ask.
The Golden Rule of Finance
Have you ever heard of paying yourself first? The premise is that 10% of your basic monthly income should be banked into a savings account ASAP. This is the act of paying yourself first before you spend it anywhere else. Some refer to this as the ‘Me Tax.’
If you can’t afford 10%, simply lower the percentage. Something is better than nothing in this instance, you are saving for your future after all. I would suggest making a note of your total monthly income, deduct all necessary bills and see what you are left with. Maybe there are a few things you don’t really need if you were to be brutally honest?
I personally do 7% because I’m paying off my credit card simultaneously with the other 3%. It is advised that you pay off any credit card debt before you initiate this process. But I know my personality, and if I didn’t get this locked down in stone last Christmas, with a direct debit, I would NEVER do it. Also, it’s important to note that my credit card debt is minimal. Chip away at that debt before anything else if it is in the big leagues.
You can find out more about paying yourself first here.
I’m going to explain this concept as best as I understand it. You have started to slowly build up your nest egg (by paying yourself first) each month. This is growing into a nice cash stockpile that you aren’t eating into, yay! But guess what? You are leveraging the power of compound interest. Meaning that your money is growing itself on your behalf over time. The more you gradually accumulate in your nest egg, the more interest it can generate for you on your behalf. Double yay!
You can find out more about Compound Interest here. There are some fancy graphs to visualise how this works over time and a more adept explanation than my feeble attempt!
My Savings Set up
For reference, here is my set up. I have a direct debit that goes straight to paying my credit card each month. This is the 3%. With the remaining 7%, I have a direct debit to my Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks and Shares ISA. This is divided between adding to my cash savings and index funds.
I went hardcore with my financial deep dive last Christmas and started researching investing. This isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to go balls to the wall like me! Saving cash via direct debit is still an amazing start.
Individual Fiscal Responsibility
Now we Segway into possibly the least glamorous section of this article. Alas, with great power comes great responsibility. This responsibility is on you. Are you spending up your future now, because well #YOLO? Things are just things; do you really need that thing?
I know it’s difficult, we are constantly bombarded with advertising. Even a casual scroll through Facebook can result in an unforeseen purchase. This kind of aggressive marketing aint going anywhere folks. The responsibility is therefor on you as the consumer to decide when you can afford to treat yourself.
Always remember nothing tastes as good as savings feel … or something?!
Nose to the Grindstone
Err remember when I said that Individual Fiscal Responsibility was possibly the least glamorous section of this post? Well that may as well be Hollywood compared to this next point. If you desire above average wealth (not just nest egg territory) you need an above average work ethic. ESPECIALLY if you are considering entrepreneurship. Even more so, if you are going for the bricks and mortar approach, this involves a lot of personal and financial risk. If you have staff to look after, even more so.
Let’s illustrate that above average work ethic with a quote from self-made millionaire Grant Cardone:
“Most people work 9-to-5. I work 95 hours [per week]. If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9-to-5 and start doing 95.”
You will find this trend appearing repeatedly for top earners. Spare time is spent problem solving, social occasions are seldom without networking, downtime is virtually non-existent, the list goes on.
I’m not a financial expert or ‘loaded’ by any means, if I can apply these actions to my life you can too. You don’t have to be a millionaire to feel wealthy. Just start with that 10%, or whatever you can afford. It may look like a pathetic amount at first, but it will build steadily as you add to it. Start to think about how you can make your money work for you, rather than working for money!
Even when someone ‘makes it’ financially, they shouldn’t forget the basic principles of wealth:
- Pay yourself first
- Fiscal Responsibility
Just because you have more, doesn’t mean you need to spend more. Build a great foundation sooner rather than later.
Has this post been helpful? What is your take on wealth? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
P.s. Why not buy me a coffee?
P.p.s. Why not check out my previous post by clicking the image below!