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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't go on a financial diet

The lifestyle necessary to attaining financial independence without a huge salary or windfall can be related to trying to lose weight. Think of the way the word "diet' is used. Most times when somebody says 'diet' they mean temporarily restricting themselves to certain types or amounts of food, in the attempt to reach a specific goal, like losing 30 lbs.

The personal finance equivalent of this is for somebody to make a goal of getting to a certain amount of money, like 100k, and make certain cuts to their lifestyle to reach this goal.

The problem with this method is you are putting yourself in a position of continual sacrifice.

Compare it to the real meaning of the word diet, as in "a Koala bear's diet consists of mainly Eucalyptus leaves." The Koala bear isn't going ON a diet, it just has a diet. It's not sacrificing, that is just what it is designed to eat to be healthy.

Same with a person. If instead of going ON a diet, they change their diet to what it is supposed to be, they will be healthier automatically. The main difference is that it is a permanent thing, and realizing that instead of the modern american diet being the stauts quo, and being ON a diet a temporary deviation, the proper diet is instead the status quo, and the junk food is a drug that can be indulged in carefully from time to time.

This is important for a couple reasons:

1. It causes a permanent lifestyle change, instead of just a temporary deviation from the norm to achieve a specific goal.

2. It eliminates the idea that life is a constant sacrifice waiting for a payoff.

3. The process becomes the goal in stead of specific benchmarks.

This works just as well with personal finance. When you realize that most of the spending in your life is the equivalent of 'junk food' and revert back to the proper financial 'diet' of you will automatically accumulate wealth. And you will no longer be feeling that you are constantly sacrificing and waiting until you have enough to get off your 'diet', in stead you will adjust to the new status quo and appreciate the luxuries we have access too, instead of seeing them as necessities you are being forced to do without.

It's not an easy change to make, and it is mostly a perspective thing, but it is important.

-The Money Monk

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