"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
Have you heard the story of two people who graduate from the same high school on the same day, with the exact same grade point average, but forty years later one of them has a $3 million net worth and the other is broke? Oh, and they earned the exact same amount of money throughout their careers.
What’s the big difference?
It’s not that one person is lucky and one is not. The difference is simply their belief about wealth was reflected in the way they spent their money each month.
"Most wealth is lost in the way people spend their money."
There's no doubt that the amount of money you make does matter. But you may be surprised to learn that your Ideal Lifestyle doesn't necessarily require you to earn a high income, as you'll see below. In fact, the reason the Money Organizer Plan has been so effective for so many people is because it helps people make the most of the money they do have.
When Edwin and Lydia (not their real names) met with their financial advisor to see if they were ready for retirement, they felt they knew the answer but wanted to be sure they wouldn’t run out of money.
Edwin worked his entire life as a meat cutter and never made more than $40,000 a year. Lydia worked as an administrative assistant for their church and never made more than $20,000 a year.
Despite not having high incomes, Edwin and Lydia reached the A Wealthgrade level and were on track to enjoy their Ideal Lifestyle in retirement. Their secret wasn't in how much money they made; it was in the choices they made with that money.
The three children they raised all went on to graduate from college, which Edwin and Lydia assisted with. They vacationed each year and never felt like they stressed about money. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Shape Your Thoughts, Shape Your Future
When Edwin was a young boy, he spent a great deal of time at his grandparents’ farm. He attributes his good work ethic to the time he spent with his grandfather.
"My grandfather's only requirement was that I get up at the crack of dawn— when he did— and that I stay near him throughout the day. He didn't require me to do any work, but the most natural thing to do seemed to be to copy whatever I saw my grandfather do. So, I did. He taught by example rather than by dictation. I not only learned how to operate a farm, I learned how to survive. And above all, I learned what was important."
Edwin and Lydia knew fewer than thirty words of English when they first arrived in America. It was the early 1960’s and they were in their early twenties. They only had enough money to last them about a week but Lydia says they somehow stretched that into two weeks, barely.
Edwin did what he knew and found a job as a meat cutter, thanks to a manager willing to overlook Edwin's lack of English in favor of his great meat cutting skills and work ethic.
"I was so afraid to not have money that we only spent money on bare necessities so we could build up a savings account," Edwin told his advisor. "We just sort of developed these habits of only buying what we needed to survive and saving the rest."
A Simple Motivation
Edwin had one basic motivation for his life: "Make sure my children can have the American Dream I dreamed of as a young boy."
That dream, Edwin explained, was simply that he could spend his time with his wife and children and that his children would all be able to graduate from college and be free to choose their own paths.
His focus on his family and their well-being was clear. He didn't set goals for what he could buy but rather for what he could do for his family.
He didn't spend time dreaming about things like owning a Ferrari or living in a mansion. "It always seemed silly when we would go to a friend’s house for dinner and stuck to the front of their refrigerator was a picture of some luxury house, or car, or expensive vacation destination. I didn't understand why our friends put their focus and time dreaming of a life they didn't have instead of enjoying the one they did have."
Finding Your Ideal Lifestyle
Edwin’s Ideal Lifestyle is likely different from yours, but the reason this mindset worked for him is that his Ideal Lifestyle was in line with his abilities: His income, financial responsibilities, talents, time, etc. Too often we aren't quite sure what our abilities are so we get drawn to lifestyles that belong to someone else and trying to live them can cause our Wealthgrade to plummet.
Edwin didn’t buy a big house, but they did have a swimming pool, which Edwin considered to be an important part of their family time.
Buying luxuries is fine as long as it complements your financial future rather than competing with it. Identify your Ideal Lifestyle and put in place the Money Organizer plan that will help you get there, and stay there!
This story was shared with us by the Edwin’s financial advisor who is a member of our professional version of the Money Organizer Plan (Money Organizer Pro)
*Wealthgrades refer to the Money Organizer Plan’s proprietary Wealthgrade model. The A Wealthgrade, in the example above, is referring to a person’s financial ability to live their Ideal Lifestyle without the requirement of a job.