Secure your future with money you didn’t even know you were spending

by: Carl Richards

Over the last five years, I’ve spent a lot of time traveling the world to talk to people about money. At least one common theme comes up again and again: anxiety. People are worried about the future and want to know what they can do to prepare themselves for a stable financial life.

As we shift away from collective retirement solutions like government programs and company pensions, greater responsibility rests on each of us to create our own plan. After hundreds of these conversations, I’ve come up with a strategy. It could just be the secret to the financial life you have always wanted. But before I share it, there are a couple of disclaimers.

First, it’s boring. I’ve tried over the years to make financial planning more exciting, but I can’t seem to do it. Some people on TV try to increase the excitement by yelling things like “Buy!” or “Sell!” What does work, however, is relatively dull. I compare it to watching an oak tree grow. It’s short-term boring, but long-term exciting.

Second, it’s hard. We’re talking about saying no to things we really want right now in exchange for something we will absolutely need many years later. That’s not what most people do. Most people buy things now because, of course, they deserve it. Eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow you die, as the old saying goes. But here’s the thing: If you think saying no today is hard, try eating cat food for the last 10 years of your life.

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