I really do try to sympathize with others, but if I read just one more comment on a financial website about someone complaining that ‘they just can’t do it, it isn’t realistic‘ I just might have to scream.
Come on people, let’s call a spade a spade and realize you screwed up. Perhaps you picked a crappy career with limited income prospects or perhaps you bought way more house than you could realistically afford. Or maybe you had some crappy investment choices with 2.5%+ mutual fund fees. I don’t really care what the reason is, but stop bitching about it and start saving already.
You know all that time you spend bitching you could be making your life better easily. How you may ask? Well here are just a few ideas.
1) Work Harder (or Smarter) – If you really want to earn more than work for it. Go beyond your job description and be valuable to your business. Then you stand a chance of getting noticed and promoted. Or if that won’t work, look to start your own business.
2) Turn Off the TV – According to a 2008 survey the average Canadian watched 1497 hours of TV that year. That is 28 hours a week! Even if you cut that in half you could easily pick up second part time job and earn more with almost no loss to the rest of your life. Your TV ‘friends’ in the screen won’t even notice: I promise.
3) Don’t Go for Sainthood with Your Kids – I love my kids, but I don’t give them everything or try to turn them into super kids. Thus they cost a fraction of what most people spend on their kids. A reminder: an iPod Touch or iPad is not a NEED! Basic clothes, food, water, a place and love are NEEDS. When in doubt less toys and more time together at the park rather than the mall.
4) Get Educated – No one on the planet cares more about your money than you. If you leave that to your bank they will approve a higher than required mortgage and sell you over priced mutual funds. This makes you poor and me as bank shareholder richer. If you want to change that you have to learn about money and that doesn’t cost you a cent. See the library (click on the book review category to find some titles) or read some blogs (see the blogroll sidebar on the right).
5) Spend Less Money on Crap – People often say to me “I would like to retire early, but I just don’t have the money.” What they should be saying is: I would like to retire early, but I already spent the money on crap. If you don’t use it daily, you should think about for at least a week before buying it. Better yet, just go shopping less often. Get some exercise instead and take a cooking/writing/….insert your hobby here…class instead. Buy experience over stuff the majority of the time and you will be able to save more and be happy doing it.
All of the above is easy to do and also easy to determine if you are doing it well. Are you happy with your life? Are you meeting your long term goals? If you answered yes to both then you are likely on the right track. If not, stop bitching and start saving already.