So you want to gain wealth? Don’t we all. I know that has been one of my goals for many years now, but for some reason, I’ve not been too successful up until a few years ago. I had saved here and there but looking back, I hadn’t really made a concerted effort to gain wealth. Not that I’ve ever been a big spender and I’ve always hated debt, I just never had a plan. So what the heck has been preventing me from WINNING?
Well, from what I have learned so far during this experiment, at the end of the day, it’s all about controlling YOU! I realized this when I created that first budget with my wife and saw that we wasted a lot of money in foolish ways. We would eat out when it made more sense to eat at home or take my lunch to work, buying new clothes and accessories when the clothes we had were perfectly fine and usable, bought a car that was over half of our yearly salary and the payment was eating up a good portion of our paycheck, took trips on a spur of the moment and charged it to our credit card, and the list goes on and on. We’ve done some pretty ridiculous things with money. It’s no wonder we barely built any wealth during that first decade of my career. We were way out-of-control.
I needed to “check” myself! Funny thing is, you really don’t realize this until you develop a plan to succeed. At least I didn’t and I imagine most people don’t either. Without that plan and focus, my financial spaceship was wondering blindly through space, oblivious to the wealth sucking black hole I was headed towards. One day I woke up and realized my spaceship was way off course and I needed a course correction.
Once we got ourselves under control, developed a budget, and learned to reduce our need for unnecessary things, I’ve been able to discovered a whole new world. Initially my focus was to control my spending so that I could pay off debt, but it has blossomed into a life lesson on self control. I have been able to become more disciplined financially and accomplish Objective One (pay off debt!) of my financial experiment. With this new found self-discipline, the effects have snowballed into other parts of my life, including, how I allocate my time. I’ve picked up two part-time jobs and we continue to stay disciplined on our spending. I’m now onto Objective Two of the experiment, which is to pay off my mortgage in six years, and from the early going, it seems I will probably do it faster than I had projected. I’ve also started volunteering at a local food bank at my church on a consistent basis with my daughters. This has allowed me to give back to my community while having quality “dad” time with my daughters. It’s really amazing to see how small changes in life compound to pay huge dividends later. Do I have more space to grow? Of course, but the added discipline and self-control has helped to add a new dimension to my life and I am grateful.