This second installment of the final three personal finance posts will discuss the personal benefits that will come to anyone taking full responsibility for his/her personal finances. As discussed in the post introducing the One in a Billion action plan, three different categories will be discussed:
- Health – increase in functionality of body/mind and longevity
- Wealth – increase in earning power and financial resilience
- Happiness – joy of day-to-day living and overall life satisfaction
As discussed previously, “Affluenza” is a very serious threat to public health within our affluent modern society. Overweight statistics are going through the roof, stress levels are as high as they have ever been and levels of physical activity are at historic lows. The obvious result is a true epidemic of self-inflicted degenerative disease and all the resulting societal and economic ramifications.
Saving consistently and borrowing responsibly is an excellent way in which to safegaurd yourself from Affluenza. Things like trading your car for a bike, switching to a more plant-based diet and getting your entertainment from sports or walks in nature instead of TV or computer games will do wonders for your health and finances. Even if you do these things purely for the purpose of saving money, they will add many years to your life and much life to your years.
A retirement age American who saved only 15% of the median American income over the past 40 years would be a millionaire by now. That is how easy it is. Building wealth is a patience game of applying the simple ten word secret: spend less than you earn and save/invest the difference. No rocket science.
Unfortunately, decades of gross fiscal irresponsibility across the board has made investing quite a lot harder than it used to be, but, as discussed throughout this series, it is still possible to gain some meaningful returns or at least preserve your purchasing power through this time of great economic uncertainty. And yes, when the dust finally settles, those with some wealth safely stowed away will be able to profit greatly from making the productive and ethical investments necessary to build a sustainable future. Investment opportunities that can double your wealth every 5-7 years will become reality again. Just be patient…
Excessive consumption does not bring happiness. That much has been established beyond any shadow of a doubt. A commitment to saving 10-20% of monthly income will therefore have no negative impacts on happiness. In fact, reduced consumption will soon start promoting happiness once you achieve financial security and eventually financial freedom. In addition, the reduced clutter brought by decreased spending will also simplify your life, freeing up more time for those things scientifically linked to happiness: vibrant health, nourishing personal relationships and free creative expression. Stop looking for happiness in places where it obviously cannot be found.