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Profiting From The Compound Effect In Your Life

Profiting From The Compound Effect In Your Life

Whether you like it or not, the compound effect is at work on your life at all times. You simply have the choice of whether you profit from it or use it to destroy your health, wealth, and relationships.

The compound effect is the idea that small actions build up over time. Imagine you had the choice of taking $1 million dollars right now or a single penny that doubled in value every day for 31 days. If you picked the penny, you’d have $10,737,418.24 on day 31… not a bad return.

However, the compound effect has much more far-reaching consequences than a nice story. It’s the fact that your daily habits add up to an amazing difference over time. And that’s the trap we have to avoid… and make the most of at the same time.

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The Fast Food Generation

We live in a world where most people expect instant gratification. That’s why there are so many diet books claiming you’ll lose ten pounds in just 3 minutes, and get rich quick schemes that promise you can push a button and make thousands of dollars a day.

They exist because we’ve been trained to want everything instantly. Why develop healthy eating and exercise habits when we can use a fad diet or just get the fat sucked out of us? Why work to build your wealth when you get become an instant millionaire buying a lottery ticket?

The reason is that instant gratification approach doesn’t work 99 times out of 100… or in the case of the lottery ticket a couple of million to one.

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The Real Way To Make More Money

If you want a proven formula for making more money it’s called the compound effect (also known as patience). It’s the fact that all the little actions we take will add up to big results over time.

Success is not actually about a herculean effort over a couple of months or a year. Every “overnight success” story you hear fails to mention the years spent preparing for the overnight success. The basketball player who practiced every day, the business owner who worked on their idea for years, or the property investor who spent their weekends looking for deals.

Make More Money With Very Little Effort

Results come from the small changes we make in our lives. If you want to make some extra money by starting a business, then you can quit your job, invest your life savings, and put everything on the line. Another option is to keep your job and build your business part-time until it replaces your income.

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Imagine if you decided to start a new business, invest in real estate, or invest in the stock market. If you dedicated just 1 hour a day to this new pursuit you would have invested 365 hours after a year and be well on your way. After 5 years that would be 1,825 hours that you’ve put towards building your extra income source.

Don’t think you have an hour? You can try learning on the commute to work instead of listening to the radio or cutting out an hour of TV/Internet a day. Everyone has the same 24 hours, and it’s up to you to choose where they get spent or invested.

How Your Results Compound

The time you invest in making more money will also compound. For the first couple of months with your new business, you’re not going to know anything and your results will probably reflect that. Yet, over time, you will work out which skills you need to improve and be able to focus on those.

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When Richard Branson invests an hour into his businesses, it is very different to the hour you invest. This is because he’s built years of experience and just understands business at a much higher level. However, he got there by doing his first business calls from a payphone, working from a basement, and figuring things out as he went along too.

Everyone Has To Start Somewhere

If you want to make more money, quit your job, or build a passive income, you need to start somewhere. The good news is that, with the internet, it’s very easy to get access to the information that you need and even start an online business in your spare time. All you have to do is put in your time, learn, and take action.

By deciding to start today, you will start to build up the compound effect for yourself. But don’t start chasing after get rich quick schemes or push-button solutions. Every time you change your strategy, you give up the momentum you’ve built with the compound effect.

Do your research and choose a path… then stick to it. Have patience, as you won’t start making huge amounts of money overnight (that’s just promised to sell you the get rich quick scheme). But with time and effort you can create an income that many people dream about and few people achieve.

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Craig Dewe

Craig founded Lifestyle Outlaws, with the belief that everyone should have the time, money and health to do what they want with life.

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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