In order to become financially independent, the need to track your net worth is a crucial step. And for our net worth to grow, we need to have good cash flow management where part of our income is retained and converted into financial assets. Can we spend or can we not?
However, when I say good cash flow management, this does not mean you have to track what you spend every day. Usually, people associate this with not spending money or cutting back on their lifestyle, which is inaccurate.
Rather than doing that, I believe that we should not suppress our urge to live our life the way we want it. We work so hard every day, so why shouldn’t we live the lifestyle that we would like to have?
Why it’s OK to spend?
I’m not here to tell you not spend money, and I’m not here to tell you that you should save x% of your income either. With our lives surrounded by advertisements that promote consumerism, it’s not easy to resist the temptation to spend. Instead, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to spend money.
Generally, there are three types of spenders – which category do you belong to?
Type 1: Spend More Than You Earn
Despite enjoying and living on our own terms to the max as a Type 1 spender, it comes with consequences. Since the additional spending is funded by money that is not ours, there will be time when you will need to pay it back, and it will not be fun when that time comes.
Immediate gratification is common for Type 1 spenders, as their wants and needs get fulfilled. Over time, however, this may become a habit and if you are trying to adjust or change this habit later, it may already be too difficult, and the process may not be easy.
Type 2: Spend What You Earn
Those in this category are usually smart enough to avoid the painful journey of paying back what they owe the bank, and so they spend within their means. If they bring home RM1, they spend RM1. This seems slightly more attractive than the first type, as this is living in the present without having to worry about payback.
However, this has its downsides too.
The downside comes from you having to continuously earn an income to pay for the food and services you need. It means that you cannot stop working. The day you stop working is the day you stop earning an income, and you’ll then no longer be able to pay for what you need.
That said, this category isn’t entirely ideal either. On the flipside, if you are a salaried employee, you are automatically made to save at least 11% of your gross salary in anticipation of your golden age.
Interested to invest for your old days. Worth a read, Selecting The Right Investment Funds For Your Retirement Portfolio.
However, this can only be enjoyed after your retirement. What about the other life priorities and goals that you would like to pursue between now and when you retire? If we spend all that we take home now, we will never have the ability to pursue these life goals.
Type 3: Spend Not More Than 90% Of What You Earn
This type of spender acknowledges the irony of the need to spend and to save, and makes it a point to set aside part of their take-home income to prepare for their future.
While living in the present, they also prepare for the future. This group of spenders understand that it is better to prepare than to repair. With the goal of spending not more than 90% of the take-home income, they practice what is referred to as ‘pay-yourself-first’.
You can decide how to spend as you like, so long you keep the maximum available for spending at 90%. If you can lower that spending amount, you will have more control over your quest towards financial independence.
By doing so, you have choices for your future. You are not just saving money; you are giving yourself more flexibility and options.
Honest Self Review
So, which type of spender are you now? If it’s up to you, which type of spender would you want to be? If you are not there yet, what is stopping you from getting there?
Usually, people who have insufficient monies to spend every month would say that they have to spend all their monies because they are not making enough. For these people, their mantra is ‘I will start saving when my income increases”.
Do you have these same thoughts too? My advice to you is to not wait – we can start making an effort to not spend all your take-home income today.
Don’t forget your emergency funds!
However, despite its benefits and advantages, just being a Type 3 spender is not going to promise you financial independence. Without managing the monies that you save in an efficient manner that supports your personal values, chances are you are not making full use of your financial muscles.
If you are unsure about your current spending behaviors and how to manage your personal finance, let’s chat.
Kevin Neoh is a NextGen Money Coach who works with people to help them transform their relationship with money to improve their lives with the money they have. Kevin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.kevinneoh.my.