Jan 13

5 Tips for Planting the Seeds of Wealth

student debt survivorI certainly don’t consider myself a “wealthy” person monetarily (I am “wealthy” in lots of other ways, but that’s not what I’m talking about in this particular post), but over the past few years as I’ve worked my way out of debt and started saving for my future. Along my journey, I have discovered a few things that have worked particularly well for me and I thought they might be helpful for others, so without further ado…

5 Tips for Planting the Seeds of Wealth

  1. Ditch the Debt. Nobody gets wealthy while they’re still making monthly credit card payments. Ditto for car payments, student loan debt, and basically any other debt that you can think of. Not only does it feel good to get the, “debt monkey” off your back, it’s also the only way you’re going to be able to build wealth. If you’re giving all of your money to the student loan companies each month (I know this scenario all too well!) you’re not making the best use of your best wealth-building tool, your salary!
  2. Only invest in things that go up in value. Cars, trucks and RVs go down in value. Born and raised in Maine, I understand that some people have a great love and appreciation for motorized “toys”, like snowmobiles, four wheelers, boats, jet skis etc. But toys that make you broke are foolish. Yes, I know that the payment is “only” $300 a month, but that’s $300 a month you could be saving towards an emergency fund or your retirement.
  3. Delay instant gratification. Some people are naturally good at delaying gratification because they can see the longer-term gain associated with waiting to get what they want. For other people, this tip is really difficult. I have to admit I’m not always a naturally patient person. I once played Verruca Salt in my middle school’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I want what I want, and I want it now! Over the years I’ve learned that patience really is a virtue. It might not be the most fun to wait to buy things you want, but when you can see the “bigger picture” you realize that having that designer purse, or buying that new car isn’t really worth blowing the budget now.
  4. Start saving for retirement… yesterday. Nobody wants to be broke, eating cold Alpo out of the can in their retirement years. When you’re young and carefree it’s hard to think about 50 years down the road. I didn’t start saving for retirement until I was almost 30, and that was definitely a big mistake. The earlier you start the more compound interest is working in your favor (i.e. the less money you have to put in). Start later and you’ll likely have to “catch up”, which means dropping a larger percentage of your salary into retirement savings each month (likely at a time when you have a family or other obligations to take care of).
  5. Practice contentment. I bet that Warren Buffet isn’t sitting in his living room feeling bad for himself because he doesn’t have the biggest and best flat screen in the neighborhood (although he certainly could if he wanted to). He’s happy with the things that he has and he doesn’t have to show off to other people to let them know how well he’s doing. Why do you really want those $400 shoes? Do you have a $50 pair in you closet that serve the same purpose? Practicing mindfulness and being thankful for what I have has really curbed my spending and my desire to have the “latest and greatest” gadgets and gifts.

How are you, “planting the seeds” to build wealth?

Image: Tax Credits.net

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  1. KK, spot on here! The more we practice not spending and working toward wealthy, the happier I am with what we have.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm
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      Thanks Laurie. Save more, spend less, be happy with what you have. Simple, but effective. 🙂

  2. It’s just another habit – over time it just becomes the norm, even though it seems impossible at the beginning.

    Like you, I am used to people and their expensive toys. And in a climate like Maine it’s a 50/50 split… so you need a skidoo AND a boat. Absurd!

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm
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      Yup, lots of bad habits eating away at our money. I’ve never really understood expensive toys (maybe it’s more of a guy thing?), now expensive purses 😉 Everyone has their vices I suppose, it’s just a matter of keeping them under control so they don’t ruin your budget.

  3. Saving, investing and cutting out unnecessary expenses! I think delaying gratification is a strong point. Too many people must have it NOW…and the only way they can afford it NOW is by buying on credit, which leads to debt. Contentment is also very important, some people think material things will bring contentment…but it really doesn’t. Well maybe briefly, but that contentment is fleeting.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm
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      I think you’re right on there. People think that they will be happy once they get stuff (and the might be for a minute) but then the feeling goes away and you’re stuck with expensive stuff you don’t need and can’t afford.

  4. Great post KK! I’m working towards all of those, bit by bit 😉

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:03 pm
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      Bit by bit is a good plan. Work on what you can when you can and then before you know it everything falls into place. Slow and steady wins the race.

  5. Love the list – instant gratification is the one I have most challenge with for sure. I’m better, but at times relapse… at least I’m better at figuring it out earlier!

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:04 pm
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      Instant gratification has always been a challenge for me too. As I’ve gotten older it’s gotten easier, but when I was a teen and 20-something-forget it!

  6. I’m still working on ditching that debt and delay instant gratification and basically everything else on your list but at least I did start saving for retirement. See I’m not that bad of a PF blogger 😉

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm
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      I think you’re a wonderful pf blogger. One of my favs for sure! Just cause we’re pf bloggers doesn’t mean we’re perfect (there wouldn’t be very many good “stories” if we were!) 😉

  7. I actually got to play Mr. Salt in our school production. Ah, shelling out money for crazy squirrels because I don’t have the ability to tell my daughter “no”. One day I plan to have that type of wealth, but it will be used to finance a simple lifestyle free from work. Not one where I buy up everything in sight to please my future children. I would hope that my company would be much more valuable.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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      It really is an interesting “story” when you think about it. Buying stuff for your spoiled brat child and trying to impress other people with “stuff”. I hope when I become wealthy I never end up like that. Playing the role was bad enough!

    • Liz on January 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm
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    Love these tips KK. being content with what you already own is key. Prevents you from cluttering your life with too much stuff! Though I’m far from mastering this habit I always feel great when I make the choice to be happy with what I already own.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm
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      I suspect many of us already have too much “stuff” thus the minimalist push I keep seeing everywhere. I don’t know why it’s so hard to be happy with what we have?! It’s something I still work on today.

  8. Great tips. I am still working to kick the debt, which will take a few years. I started retirement at 26, so but sort of stopped because of work and debt, so I literally only have $1500 in retirement. Ugh! I am starting to save $50 a mo towards retirement, while attempting to put $1300 towards debt each month.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:12 pm
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      $50 a month is better than nothing (and way better than all of the baby boomers who now have nothing in retirement!). I got a late start on my retirement thanks to my student loans, but I’m just moving forward and doing what I can now to make sure I have the money I need when I retire.

  9. Great post! I particularly like your advice about delayed gratification. If you can master this alone you are better off than most people and should be able to build wealth faster.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm
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      I completely agree! Even if you do nothing else, stopping yourself from purchasing things on a whim can save hundreds (and thousands) over the long haul. Invest the money you wanted to spend on those things and you’re well on your way to wealth.

  10. practicing contentment is a lost art. ive become very good at it, and ttrying to teach my sister! great post!

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:16 pm
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      It’s not easy sometimes, but it’s one of the things I’ve really been focusing on over the past few years. It’s a skill that’s so applicable in money and in life in general. Your sister is lucky to have you!

  11. I hate when people talk about the purchase of an item as an investment. I’m pretty sure as soon as you used it or wore it, the value went down.

      • KK on January 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm
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      You mean my brand new Gucci bag isn’t an investment? Crap! 😉 It kills me to hear people “justify” why they bought something they don’t need and can’t afford.

  12. I think delaying instant gratification is a big one for me. I feel like Veruca Salt sometimes when I want something, stomping my feet if I can’t get it. But patience makes my accounts grow bigger, and my inner Charlie from CATCF likes that. You get rewarded for being good. 🙂

  13. This is a wonderful post KK. I really fund once I got these basic down I started to notice financial progress. I wont sit here and say that I am winning at each and every one of them every single day, but Im making very good progress.

    I actually recently made a decision that is mentioned in number 2. I decided to buy my mothers old car in cash rather than financing a new car. I know that my mother has taken very good care of her car and I can get another 4/5 years out of it, possibly more. To make this happen though i had to postpone a trip to Ghana which is a serious bummer for me, but hopefully I can make that trip happen before the end of the year.

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