One of the great Roman stoics, Epictetus, is credited with the quote ‘You become what you give your attention to’.
For most, our money, its abundance or lack thereof, diverts our attention in many ways, controlling our lives, behaviours and relationships.
Yet, money and wealth need not be that pervasive. By diverting your attention to these five golden rules, you will achieve long term financial wellbeing.
Rule 1 – Invest in yourself
The first rule applies to all, but particularly the young. The best financial investment one can make is an investment in yourself.
Acquire the skills and qualifications to build your career and increase your earning capabilities. Spending habits do not rise exactly in accordance with pay rises, so earning more will have a significant impact upon your ability to save.
Work hard, build your career and watch your earnings (and savings) grow.
Rule 2 – Pay yourself first
One of the central tenets to successful financial management is to spend less than you earn.
A proportion of all you earn is yours to keep, no matter how much or little your income. Pay yourself before you pay anybody else.
As a simple rule of thumb, you should save at least 10% of all you earn. Save more if you can. You will notice little difference in your overall standard of living.
Rule 3 – What you save, must earn
Make your money work for you. Yet, invest it wisely.
Your wealth grows from a tiny seed. The sooner you plant that seed, the sooner the tree will grow. If you take care of the seed and nourish the tree, the sooner you will be able to bask in the shade.
In other words, do not hoard cash. Invest your savings with purpose. Invest the growth and the growth’s growth. The magic of compound interest will do the rest.
Rule 4 – Take advantage of the help on offer
Help is on offer. Make use of tax-efficient savings vehicles such as pensions and ISA. Take your employer up on their offer to maximise your pension savings.
Let the government and your employer take part in your financial success. Share the burden.
Rule 5 – Obtain appropriate advice
Financial advice is freely available, but you should make it your maxim to seek advice from one whose daily work is the management of money, preferably one that is independent.
A good financial planner will generate a level of value to you and your loved ones way beyond the cost of their advice. They will ensure you remain disciplined in the pursuit of financial success and patient in times of uncertainty.
Crucially, they will let you know when enough is enough, enabling you to live well and enjoy the fruits of your labour.