Stash Your Cash, or Kiss Your ***... Goodbye

By | August 20, 2015 Leave a Comment

Stash Cash First, or Kiss It Goodbye

I haven’t always been a financial genius (/Sarcasm font). In fact, over the course of my short life, I’ve made many (but thankfully not all) of the same mistakes that I make fun of people for all the time here on my blog.

To give you an example, a little over six years ago, I was about to graduate college and was clinging to a super crappy call center job, working for the same company I had my entire college experience. The economy was in the tank, and jobs were not easy to come by.

My wife and I had just had our first child, we were both working, and we were unsure about where to take our lives post-college.

Several years prior to this, I had made a big mistake: seeking a degree with barely any earning potential outside of education or academia, neither of which I wanted to be a part of by the time I graduated. Had I done a little bit more research, and stayed in slightly better contact with reality, I would have realized that I needed to switch my major long before my last semester at college, when it was everlastingly too late.

About this time, I was given a book as a gift from a family member, and reading it set off a trigger for changing my life. The book was written in the late 1990’s, and entitled Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Far from being an academic study on how to be rich, the book serves as a plank for helping readers change their perspectives on the purpose of money, particularly when it comes to mindsets and beliefs about how to earn, use, and grow money.

One section of the book has always stuck with me. It talked about the principal of “paying yourself first.” In other words, the value of stashing cash before all else.

Stashing First Means Paying Yourself First

In the book, a boy’s father owned several of his own businesses and worked long hours. At the end of the day, the man was always tired and worn out—but satisfied. He was satisfied because he worked hard, treated his employees well, and always made sure that at the end of the month, he was keeping a good portion of the money he was making That way, he could reinvest the money, make it begin to grow on its own, and someday be free from the rat race of personally managing all the affairs of his businesses.

The father was religious about making sure that no matter what, he would take a portion of all the money he made, and sock that cash away into savings or investments, even if paying bills and creditors was an imminent need. His creditors always came second, or third, or fourth….etc. He never let bills come between him and his future prosperity.

The father knew that eventually, at some point in the near future, he would have the money to pay his bills, because he was a hard worker. But even if he didn’t… even if he had to delay making some debt payments once in a while… he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his goal of independence for anybody else.

Paying yourself first ensures that in the long-term, you will one day have enough money to end your dependence on a job and an employer. It also forces you to make the most of every penny that rolls into your bank account, because there is always the looming visage of bills and debt you have to pay off, too, unless you want to lose everything you have.

By paying yourself first, you become a better “steward,” or guardian of your wealth. You force yourself to learn how to grow it, how to prioritize it, how to use it, and how to preserve and guard it.
Paying yourself first gets you excited, because over time, your money magically begins piling up! You begin to have enough for whatever emergencies, investing, or long-term goals and needs come up.

How to Stash It

How do you go about “paying yourself first?” It’s simple. Set up a savings account (or even better, an investment account, as I do), and with your employer, set up a Direct Deposit, so that you never even see the money coming out of your check. If you never see it, you won’t miss it. Out of sight, out of mind.

Automate this process, and you’ll never have to debate at the end of the month how much you’ll put away. There might be some months when you come up short after paying your bills…. But at that point, it’s up to you to raise excess cash somehow, or to make adjustments to what you are spending so that the numbers come up even.

Of course, having the numbers come up even is a whole new ballgame, which you’ll have to figure out based on your own situation. It requires you to watch what you spend, using a budget of some kind, and to minimize your debts—sell cars you owe on, and buy cheaper ones. Sell stuff you don’t need or don’t use to raise some money. Simplifying your life in this way will be one of the greatest financial blessings you will give yourself.

For more information on this, see the articles I’ve written focusing on become a Master of Personal Finance. There’s a wealth of information there you should take of hold of. Read ALL of the articles.

I’ve been in the “out of money, but not out of month” club. I know what it’s like to see money come into the bank throughout the month, and to see it all gone by the end of the month, with nothing to show for it. It’s depressing and demoralizing. Yet, many people live this way on a regular basis.

A while back, my wife and I made a huge financial change. We were pretty good savers, and great at making extra payments to pay off our debts, but we started paying ourselves first. It’s become a huge peace of mind, watching our savings pile up and watching our money grow, knowing that if something catastrophic happens to us, we’re prepared, because we’ve paid ourselves first.

And even more important, we’re on a path to freedom.

So, begin today to pay yourself first. It will literally pay you dividends over time.

Live long and invest,

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