Personal Finance column: Perennial applications for vintage financial wisdom
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”
— Will Rogers
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
— Charles Dickens
“Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.”
— A.A. Latimer
Replace your budget with an intentional spending plan. Tell your money where to go instead of asking where it went. Connect with your core values on what is important in your life and direct the financial flow. You won’t be swayed by media or the perceived “fear of missing out.” Spending with joyful intention within safe boundaries is a powerful combination.
“Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor; we’ve got 24 hours each.”
— Christopher Rice
Consider that return on life is just as if not more important than return on investment. Money is very necessary up to a point. There is a diminishing rate of return on happiness as it pertains to income. Each person has their unique narrative to live a life on purpose and in their potential. Put forth effort and energy toward people, activities and causes that make you come alive. Using your financial means to pave this path is where you create true wealth.
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
— Yogi Berra
Inflation is an integral part of life. Flash back to 1970 prices: a home, $26,600; a first-class stamp, 6 cents; a gallon of gas, 36 cents; a gallon of milk, $1.15. You can either seek to outpace the cost of living — save and invest in broad-based, diversified, tax efficient portfolios (such as real estate and the stock market) for long-term goals. Or you can reduce your lifestyle and choices down the road.
“The Stock Market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient.”
— Warren Buffett
Investing is different from speculating. Investing requires vision and a long-term focus, goal setting, good habits and mindsets. It is necessary to keep emotions in check and where wisdom undergirds and directs knowledge alongside application.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”
— Henry Ford
These two both speak to the importance of character assets. Too often financial assets are the singular measure of “wealth.” Your net worth does not define your self-worth. When you focus on building and enhancing positive, productive character traits, the financial pieces will stay in their proper place to serve you and society.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
— Winston Churchill
Generosity is the secret sauce in creating true wealth. It is foundational for financial health as giving breaks the bind of consumerism. It is a profoundly personal journey and worth taking steps on the path.
With over 2,000 references in the Bible about money, this one is the most misquoted and misinterpreted: 1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Money is not in itself evil, but when it becomes the focal point of life either because of unsatiable desires or life-sustaining scarcity, immorality can bloom. The garden of your financial life needs to be well tended to keep this weed from taking hold.
“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.”
— P.T. Barnum
“Master Card” – the irony is palpable. If used wisely, it is a tool of convenience and safety. For many, consumer debt has been normalized and expected, yet holds them hostage from attaining financial freedom.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
To me, this speaks to financial efficacy. We are not victims of financial circumstances. We get to choose — whether it is regarding the financial means you have or the mindsets you embrace. We can plan. We can save and invest. We can work hard. We can choose an attitude of gratitude and a mindset of sufficiency. We can recalibrate and pivot when things don’t go the way we had hoped. Where do you have wins and how do you want to build on them?
Danielle Howard is a CFP® and CKA® with Wealth By Design LLC in Basalt. Check out her retirement podcasts and blogs at daniellehoward4u.com.
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