Reducing Expenses for Investing (2 of 2)
What percentage of your expenses are spent on status-seeking? How much is wasted just because you don’t know any better? This is a continuing discussion from this: first in a two-part presentation.
Status-seeking is all about the maintaining the appearance of health and wealth. The challenge with this is obvious. The appearance is not necessarily the achievement. You can look the part and not be the part. This deception or delusion can land you in the poor house. In today’s age, this challenge is subtle because the prevailing expectation is that everyone does this pretending and make-up-based presentation. Some feel that they are not at their best if they are not made up. I’m not here to argue that. My counsel is for you to make sure that your financial future is not make-believe.
The solution here is to find some confidence and pride in your current position. I am convinced that those who have trouble doing this, at whatever station in life, are not aware and specific about future goals. Future goals allow you to recognize that the current station is a temporary stop along the journey toward those goals. Therefore, even the most accomplished people in the world still have goals. Goals, in a tangible way, help you to recognize the utility of the current moment. That sense of utility can be the basis of contentment and joy even while you climb toward something greater. Consider that a foot firmly planted, stable toward a new direction is better than a gold-plated shoelace on an uncertain path.
Don’t Know Better
Of course, what you don’t know can hurt you. This is by far the most damaging in my estimation. Consider the number of missed opportunities and the financial advancement that is wasted from not knowing. The loss is compounded at the rate of the missed opportunity. If it was an investment that appreciated in value gradually over years like a home, you missed it. If it was a hot stock tip that doubled in value, you missed it. If it was a way to pay $200 less per month on car insurance over the last 2 years, you missed it.
The solution, of course, is to get in the know. The proposition is easier than you think. Financial markets are finite in some respects. You have consumer operations, credit services, and market speculation to content with. That’s all.
Consumer operations are related to the products and services that you buy and rent. Examples are cell phone plan and insurance rates. You should always check for discounts, deals, and complimentary offerings even those requiring registration.
Credit services relate to the financing you access for small and large purchases alike. From gas cards to car purchases to mortgage rates, you are always looking for the lowest interest rates, cash back offers, and any other incentives you can access.
Market speculation is your participation in financial markets. I’m on a mission to get everyone informed about the stock market, but other ways to participate exist. Employee stock buying plans can provide you with a discount on the purchase of securities. Instruments like your 401k and your IRA are tied to the market. At your local bank, you may find options for Certificates of Deposit or some other localized instruments. Don’t mistake that home buying and real estate investment are just market speculation with real property. In each of these, seek to know more. Stake out your territory (those things you will buy and engage with) and ask questions, read reports, and get in the know.