The results are in: as a society, we are failing with our money. So how do we find success? We must start by learning to do better with the dollars that are ALREADY flowing through our lives every day, month and year. Ever look at your credit card statement and stare in wonder at all the money you spent? How much of that was avoidable? Without going into specifics, if you could recapture every dollar lost to some unnecessary thing – random subscriptions or bank fees or impulsive/wasteful spending that adds NOTHING to your quality of life – would you be ok using that money for something more productive?
Remember the Ticket Oak from those TV ads? It was maybe the most awesome thing ever – a giant tree whose leaves were tickets to sporting events and concerts. You could just walk up to it and pluck a couple of tickets to see Coldplay or the Lakers. I love going to concerts and ballgames so I think it would be so cool… if you had one of these in your backyard what would you do? Would you do anything to protect or safeguard it? I know I would at least build a fence. Really I’d probably install a security system complete with an electric fence, surveillance, a guard dog, motion sensors, trap doors… the works
Now, what if instead of tickets, the tree grew money? We all know money doesn’t grow on trees – our parents hammered that into our heads when we were kids, right? How many of you have heard or said something to that effect even recently? Exactly. It’s a well known fact. But imagine for a minute that the Money Tree did exist and that you had it. What would you do? I’ll tell you what you’d do. You would take a few of the leaves off of that tree (or a bunch if necessary) and build the most ridiculous security system in the history of mankind, or a castle wall, or something to protect that tree and keep it safe from all the threats it would inevitably face…
Ok Matt, what is the point?
The point is that before you worried about the money you were spending, you would worry about the source of that money – the thing that was creating your ability to spend in the first place!
Think about it: as long as your tree kept growing leaves of Benjamins and Jacksons you could continue to do all the stuff you do every day, right? Now, you could budget and manage the money you spent as the tree steadily replaced the leaves you picked, but what would happen if, for one reason or another, the leaves slowed down or stopped growing altogether? Maybe there was a drought and the tree withered. Maybe you plucked the leaves so fast that the tree became malnourished. Maybe you left your gate open and the neighborhood kids came in and picked the tree clean. Maybe they uprooted the entire thing and stole it away. Maybe there was a storm that caused a flood or the tree got struck by lightning. Or maybe the seasons simply changed and winter set in. Any number of things could have caused your tree to stop producing, but no matter the cause, the result would be the same, wouldn’t it?
Ready for a dose of reality? If you work for a living, YOU ARE THE TREE!!!!
The logical question is; why would you not do everything in your power to protect your most precious resource – your Money Tree? The ability you have to go out and earn the income (grow the money leaves) that allows you to do ALL of the things you need and want to do? Pay the mortgage, buy food and gas, keep the lights and the cable on. That personal lifeline known as your smartphone. Not to mention club soccer, the class trip to Washington DC, and your daughter’s wedding. Wouldn’t you agree, the money you earn is the thing that allows all of these things to happen, and your ability to get up and go to work makes it all possible?!
This is why the first step towards financial balance, after organization, is to seek maximum protection of your income and assets. The reality is that one day your income will stop, whether by your choosing or not. I know it’s unpleasant, but if you allow yourself to acknowledge it, except in the case of retirement, the day your income stops is probably the worst day of your life. Possibly because of whatever happened to make the income disappear, but even more just due to the fact that it did indeed stop!
Fortunately there are ways to prepare ourselves for that day. You have the option to take a few leaves off of your tree to ensure that it is always able to grow more leaves. The beauty is that in most cases, you are simply wasting the dollars that could be used to protect your most precious resource, your income, and it is possible to recapture those dollars to use them for something so much more valuable.
Want to learn more? Contact me and let’s chat!