I sent out my first post on this blog on November 12, 2014. I had a lot of passion going in and figured I was going to produce a deluge of great content going forward. What happened next? Crickets! I went into a long and sustained period of dormancy. Almost 4 years long! Why? Simply put, it was inertia.
Why did I slump into such a long period of inertia? Well, life got in the way and I simply kept postponing. Oh, I will post a blog post when work is less tedious…..I will try to create content when I get a vacation…..I will post one when…. It was all excuses. The other reason for my inertia was I didn’t have faith in myself. I didn’t think I will be able to keep up with creating and producing content consistently enough to ensure my blog does not die a natural death. I mean, there are like a zillion personal finance blogs out there and why would I think mine would be successful? I told myself that there was nothing new for me to tell people in this area. I also somehow managed to convince myself that I will not be able to put out blog posts every week (there are some blogs that put out 3-4 posts per week!) or even every month.
So the days became weeks. Weeks became months. And months became years. And life happened in those times. Some low moments. Some high moments. In those past years, I’ve continued to read and update myself daily on everything about Personal Finance. It is my second love. My wife tried severally to prod me, seeing how passionate I was about the subject and how I get excited to help some friends and colleagues with their financial issues….for free. She felt it came naturally to me. But I hedged and procrastinated. Recently I had a talk with someone in a similar situation who started a blog and is trying to promote it. He gave me a lot of encouragement. I talked to my wife that same night and she encouraged me even more to take the leap and re-start this blog again and she gave me more ideas on how to create content.
So I’m going to take another stab at this. Yes, it will not be easy. Yes, I may not produce content every week or even every month. Heck, I may even fail or give up again out of fear. But like Zig Ziglar said, “F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise”. I will try to tame the fear and not be afraid to fail this time. For those who are successful are those who have failed a thousand times but never quit trying.
Inertia and Personal Finances
So wondering how all this rambling has to do with finances? Well, I just got thinking how inertia or just the inability to take charge and control of our finances can wreck havoc to our finances. The inertia of personal finance can sometimes be a good thing, but mostly can be disastrous to your finances. When you forget to go to your HR department and sign on to your company’s 401K contributions when you get a new job, it can delay the start of compound interest that will help you get wealthy. When you allow inertia to set in and forget to pay off you credit card balance in full, the interests accumulate. When you keep postponing getting a term life insurance to help protect your family, it may get really expensive if suddenly you die and leave your family holding the bag. In the same vein, when you delay to get a will and your estate plan in place before you die, you can create all sorts of havoc for your estate and your family. You don’t want to do that.
You can decide to make a change today. Interestingly, in the world of personal finance, it’s never too late to start. There are tons of stories of people who started late and still became millionaires before they retired (just do a simple google search and you will be overwhelmed). Don’t let inertia get the better part of you in the handling of your finances.
Automate Your Finances
One of the best ways to take charge of your finances is by automating it . So how do you do that? Here’s a primer:
1. Pay Yourself First
You need to get in the habit of paying yourself first whenever you get your paycheck. The government figured this out and takes taxes out from your paycheck before you get it. You should learn to do same for yourself. Like Warren Buffet said, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”
2. Automate Your Budget
Most people need a budget to help them keep track of their finances. These days there are so many free online budgeting tools like mint.com, everydollar.com that can help you keep an eye on your budget and give you helpful reminders when you go over on certain categories. Most of these free budgeting sites have an app for I-phone or Android
3. Automate Your Bills
You can create a system where all your bills are paid on time, whenever they’re due without ever having to worry about them. Late payments can destroy your credit. You can automate your bills by creating ACH Bill Pay with your bank account
4. Automate Your Contributions to Your Retirement/Investment Accounts
In the process of building wealth, this by far is the most important. You need to automate your savings to your retirement accounts, investment accounts or even to your savings account designated for something in the near future (like down payment for a home, a car purchase, a wedding). When you put it in auto pilot, you don’t have to think about it and it removes the inertia from you as it occurs automatically regardless of your efforts.
Don’t let your inertia get the best of you when it comes to finances. Being an immigrant in this land of the free has its own challenges, what with the financial and family pressures from back home. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take charge and take control so that you can become wealthy….and then you can help more people.
Have you ever had inertia in your finances? How did you resolve it? Comment below.
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