One great description of entrepreneurship is: being willing to live in a way that most people aren’t willing to live for a time, in order to live in a way that most people can’t live for the rest of your life. That’s a cool idea, and pretty inspiring for people who might aspire to great things in the world of business. Luckily for the rest of us, entrepreneurship isn’t the only path to financial freedom. There are many methods of attaining wealth. But in every case, you’ve got to be willing to live and act in ways that most other people are unwilling to live and act. Most people understand this innately, if not specifically. What most people don’t understand is that it doesn’t actually take that much more work to go farther and longer than most other people. In some cases, working 10% harder than you are now will put you at the front of the pack.
There are millions of examples. Let’s pick a simple one. Let’s say you live in Canada and you pay for car insurance, just like millions of your peers. But rather than sign up for a policy, forget all about it, and pay whatever you pay every single month for the rest of your life, you involve yourself a little more in the process. After paying for auto insurance with a certain provider for 12 months, you decide to see what else is out there in the market. You learn that by switching to a competitor company, you’ll save 65% per year over your current policy, because of industry changes and competition that has emerged in the past year. That’s hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket over the next 12 months. Being willing to look for savings, even when it is convenient to ignore the problem, is one way to can improve your financial life, in an easy way that few other people are unwilling to try.
Maybe you achieve financial freedom by refusing to go into debt, instead saving your extra money. You realize that your personal capital is precious, and you don’t want to flitter away money that you’ve worked so hard to earn. After establishing an emergency fund, you start to save for a down payment on your first house. When you finally buy your home, you gradually build up lots of money in equity. This increases your net worth, adding to the benefits you’re already earning through government sponsored tax incentives. It’s a big change that happened slowly over time, all because of options you made possible for yourself because you were willing to save, not spend.
Building wealth is usually a slow affair. And like any change that occurs incrementally over many years, it’s the kind of thing that requires lots of good decisions, made consistently. Each one of these decisions may be as simple as cooking at home for one meal rather than going out. That one decision may require a little bit of willpower to perform. But by itself, it’s an easy battle to win, requiring perhaps only 10% more effort than caving and buying food at a restaurant. Make lots of decisions like that over time, and you’ll build yourself a good financial future.
Photo: Flickr: Karl Bedingfield