I am sure all of you remember learning about the food chain when you were in school. I found it quite interesting. In the ocean, the small creatures get eaten by the little fish, who get eaten by larger fish, who get eaten by even bigger fish, and so on.
Everything devours something smaller than itself, but eventually gets eaten by something bigger. It's the law of the jungle.
I have a question for you. Where are you on the "financial" food chain? Are you still lurking at the bottom, afraid to venture out, because you know something is out there just waiting to have you for lunch? Not a very secure feeling, is it? Do you feel like a guppy in a sea full of sharks? Maybe it's time to move up the food chain and "swim" with the big fish. Sound like a good idea? Take my fin -- excuse me, my hand -- and let me lead the way for you.
The vast majority of the world is lurking on the bottom and trying not to be devoured by some bigger creature. The majority are living (or should I say "just existing") and are about 15 minutes away from bankruptcy at any given moment in time. It's kind of scary, but true. Life does not have to be that way. There are a few basic simple things you can execute today that will take you from the bottom and move you up the food chain very fast. Are you ready for the quantum leap?
Tell me about your personal finances. I am sure your finances play like any soap opera on television today. It's sad. You get some money and deposit it into your checking account. The next thing you do is open it to all the "bigger fish" or companies that you owe and allow them to feast on your money. A feeding frenzy! After they are finished, you get what is left over, if there are any leftovers. It sounds pretty sad to me.
Why not move yourself up the food chain and partake of this feast before you open the gates to the big fish? How do you accomplish this? I'll tell you! Let's back up the picture again to the part where you get some money and put it into your account. Right before you do that, you need to take some of the money and put it aside just for yourself.
If you are like most of us and have to pay taxes, you should be doing this already so that when your quarterly estimates are due, you have the money to pay the IRS. I would suggest that for every $1,000 you get, you put aside no less than $200 for taxes. No longer will you be scrambling and scratching for money to pay the IRS. You will have it, and it will be waiting for you to write that check. That should eliminate a lot of stress in your life.
Okay: we have taken care of the IRS, but what about you? In the beginning, the 20% you put aside should be more than enough for taxes. Once you get used to the 20%, why not increase that amount to 25%? Maybe even get it to 30%. Now you can cover taxes and even have money for a retirement plan and a savings plan, too. Wow! What a concept! Now you are up there with the killer whales!
Stanley, is it really that simple to take control of my finances? Yes! This is just a small part of what I do when I work with clients and review their overall financial picture. We start small and grow, and it's amazing how fast those dollars can grow. As the dollars grow, so does an individual's confidence. That person is now in control of his or her financial future: sort of a warm fuzzy feeling you gain from swimming with the big fish!
This process can make a huge difference in a person's life. Take, for example, a 35-year old who puts aside just $100 per week until age 65. Let's assume that person is able to get a 10% return on that money. At age 65, that person would have almost $1,000,000 cash! Let's assume that the same person comes to me for advice and I set him or her up on this program at age 30, just five years earlier. What will that person have at age 65? Over $1,500,000! Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Managing your finances is not an event: it is a process, just like acupuncture is a process for your patients. I have now given you one small step, but imagine what you can accomplish with the entire process! Do you need some help with it? Then check out my website or send me an e-mail. I warn you, though: don't do this unless you are ready to swim with the big fish!
Click here for previous articles by Stanley Greenfield, RHU.