So how IS living? Are you experiencing the good life in the land of opportunity? Or, financially speaking, are you not doing so well? If so, I’ve got an answer for you! A solution that will take care of you for the rest of your life. But first an oft-quoted axiom is to “live within your means”. That is good beginning advice for those who dive into heavy debt from living beyond their means, but such advice will hardly provide financially over the long haul.
To live a life that is debt free, bondage free and to head happily toward a comfortable retirement requires a different pattern of living. So here lies your life-long financial solution! Financially, you must live below your means. Some people go through life living “above their means”. Others “live within their means”. Still others, the successful ones, make sure that they always “live below their means”.
If you have been living above your means, you are already in serious debt and have no hope of becoming debt free unless you quickly change your financial habits. If you have been living within your means, you may be debt free, but you have little or no savings or investments to carry you through your retirement. What you must begin to do is live below your means.
Why is this important? Unless you believe you will be in excellent health so that you can work throughout your old age to provide food for yourself, shelter and the other necessities of life, you need to save and invest for your retirement years. Doing this is not possible if you are living above your means or simply living within your means.
If you spend more than you earn, you have a very serious problem on your hands – the problem is you! Most people do not have an income problem; they have a spending problem. It’s not what you make; it’s what you spend. If you have managed to tame the spending tiger within you and are living within your means, you still have further cutbacks to make in your family cash flow. You need to spend below your available income stream. You need to be planning for your retirement. Your government social programs won’t provide adequate income for your retirement days – that will be left up to you. It is your responsibility, not your friends, family or government.
Okay, now you understand the necessity of living below your means. What does that really mean? In a nutshell, it simply means you have to spend less money than you earn. It means you do not allow yourself to spend money on things you don’t absolutely need or things that just make you happy for a moment or two. It means you save money instead of spend it. It means investing the money that is left over.
The picture of retiring early, gaining wealth and having plenty of money to give to worthy causes is a picture of a happy life. You are the lender, not the debtor. You are the master, not the servant, because you have learned to master yourself. You have learned to discipline your sudden impulses and you have learned the difference between wants and needs. It’s not complicated; it’s very straightforward. It’s living a simpler lifestyle.
Content © Rich Brott, 2011