Sept. 5, 2019
People who are good with money have to work at it every day.
Like exercise or eating healthy, managing your money is never finished. You can reach your goal weight or ideal net worth, but there are daily behaviors required to maintain that status.
Here are a few things people who are good with money do every day:
1. They balance their wants and needs
A TD Ameritrade survey of supersavers— those who save or invest an average of 29% of their income — found that 60% of them adhere to a budget, while 49% of others do the same.
To these people, saving isn't an afterthought— it's a necessary expense that's baked into their budget. Believe it or not, they still have money leftover to spend how they like. According to the survey, supersavers and average savers spend the same amount of their budget, about 7%, on travel.
In other words, they've figured out how to balance spending for the present and saving for the future.
2. They make decisions that put them closer to their goals
People who are good with money understand there's no time to waste. They start saving as early as they can, stay away from high-interest debt, and commit to growing their money through investing.
Most importantly, they establish both short-term and long-term goals and revisit them regularly. And the decisions they make every day — from positioning themselves for a raise at work to tracking their spending — bring them one step closer to achieving their financial goals.
"The No. 1 reason most people don't get what they want is that they don't know what they want," said T. Harv Eker, a self-made millionaire. "Rich people are totally clear that they want wealth."
3. They limit their exposure to temptation
When you're trying to spend less and save more, temptation may be the greatest enemy. People who are good with money aren't necessarily born with a higher dose of discipline, but they know how to create it.
As James Clear, a productivity and habits expert, writes in his bestselling book " Atomic Habits,": "'Disciplined' people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations."
That is to say, people who are good with money are thoughtful about where they spend their time. They aim to limit their exposure to situations where they are tempted to overspend on things that don't align with their goals, such visiting the mall during a blowout sale or a rooftop bar during happy hour.
4. They practice patience
"This seems obvious, but there are plenty of people who only focus on two things when it comes to money: making it and spending it," Katie Brewer, a certified financial planner and the founder of financial-planning firm Your Richest Life, wrote in a blog post. "But that is a short-term view of money that does not lead to wealth."
One of the most common paths to wealth is consistent saving and investing, according to research by Tom Corley, a CFP and CPA who studied wealthy people for five years.
Corley found that it took people with modest incomes about 32 years to accumulate an average of $3.3 million. They spent over three decades consistently saving at least 20% of their income and investing thoughtfully.