I just finished (yet another) personal finance book, this one David Bach’s “Start Late, Finish Rich.”* The book’s premise is that anyone—no matter their age or station in life–can get their financial shite together (!) by developing the right financial habits to create a healthy nest for themselves and their family.
As is the case for most things I get value out of, Bach’s book makes it clear that if you want this result, you gotta take responsibility for it:
You know, the good things in life don’t just happen to people. Sure, people occasionally get lucky. They win the lottery or inherit a bundle from a rich uncle they never knew they had. But those are the exceptions—the rare exceptions. As a rule, the good things in life happen to people only when they make them happen…
If you want a future of security and independence, you’ve got to build it for yourself.“Start Late, Finish Rich,” by David Bach (p91)
Back at the end of 2014, I read Bach’s “Smart Couples Finish Rich,” a book designed, as the title suggests, especially for couples. As Bach writes, “My goal in this book is to provide an action-oriented road map that will enable the two of you to take control of your finances as a couple… you will learn everything you need to do as a couple to both live and finish rich.” (p5)
I was ready to hear this. We had been married for nearly three years, and I guess I was ready to think about more “grown up” things like taking on our financial future. The book nailed the point home. I thought, “This stuff is important. We need to listen to this.”
Soon after reading “Smart Couples Finish Rich,” I read Tony Robbin’s “Money: Master the Game,” and the transformation was complete.
I had caught the personal finance bug 😉
We wasted no time. We started creating positive money habits such as putting away for savings, investing, and paying off debt. Looking back on the last five years, I am enormously grateful, especially given the collective roller-coaster the world is going through right now. It gives me enormous peace of mind* knowing that we have a solid financial foundation and flexibility in the face of uncertain times.
And yet, that’s really no surprise to me. That’s the power of good habits! They allow a slow and steady power that grows over time, and their virtuous results will come to your aid again and again!
In his books, Bach makes the point that by setting aside a few dollars a day, one can build up one’s financial empire.** Because that’s what good habits do: they chip away at whatever is important to you, gradually sculpting your masterpiece, Andy Dufresne style .
And this is why it is more important than ever to develop good financial habits!
** David Bach popularized the idea of the “latte factor;” that is, the notion that if you cut out small, unnecessary expenses in life–such as a daily latte from Starbucks–you can end up saving a whole crap load of money over time, especially when it is invested for a modest return.