What if you were born with one number already programmed in your memory? A number signifying the maximum amount of dollars you could amass as your net worth over your lifetime. What would it feel like to have this number at the front of your brain every morning? Consider the joy you may feel knowing you are right on track to hit that number. Think about the discomfort you may feel as you age and check in on your progress year after year, realizing you are far behind the pace you need to maintain to reach that maximum amount. Do you think knowing without a doubt you could achieve a net worth of one, two or three million dollars would impact your thinking and behavior?
We all know the saying, “time is money” serves as a reminder that time is valuable. Time, which we tend to waste is compared to something we tend to value, money. However, I prefer flipping that metaphor around to read - money is time, causing us to think about money in the same construct as we think about time. Limited. When you flip the metaphor around to say - there are only so many dollars available for you over the course of your life it paints money in a new light, similar to the way it is described in the first paragraph. Thinking about the amount of money you can earn for yourself as limited allows you to treat paychecks like opportunities; there are a finite number of them coming to you and how each one is handled impacts the quality of your life and the progress toward your ultimate goal. That is perspective.
Whether you already carry yourself like all paychecks matter, or if the first paragraph made you grab your chest, for the remainder of this post I want to talk about the trait you must have to begin or continue to build wealth – discipline.
When we think about money, we all know the equation to accumulate wealth - spend less money than we make. When finances are reduced to a+b=c, it seems easy to build our nest egg. Why is it never that simple in reality? Why do we have to struggle, scratch and claw to increase our net worth? Because much like our courage our discipline is uneven. Discipline is the bridge that connects know-how to action. Discipline takes what you think you have the capacity to do, and multiplies it exponentially.
Having discipline allows you curb impulse and save money. Discipline makes you set up automatic transfers to ensure 15% of every paycheck goes into your savings account. Discipline tells you if you can’t pay cash, resist the urge to reach for your credit card. When you are wrestling with opting out of your company’s 401k plan, discipline leans on your index finger causing you to click the circle next to enroll (it also whispers in a soft voice to contribute at least enough to earn the company match which is literally free money.) Discipline causes you to drive that paid off car for another year instead of going back to the dealership. Discipline stay busy don’t he?
Discipline is choosing your financial flexibility over a retailer. It is being aware that money is time. Discipline is having the vision to see the long term goal and knowing what must be done to get there, so listen to Duke and do it, do it.