When we think of glamour, an image of Old Hollywood wealth comes to mind. And rightly so because that wealth helped build the Hollywood mystique. But did you know that the wealthiest Old Hollywood stars, like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, didn’t get that way through performing alone? They built their wealth through wise use of their money and using investing to create multiple streams of income. For example, as a teenager, I was shocked to learn that Bob Hope was also known as Mr. Real Estate because of all of the land he owned. Having multiple streams of income means that you have a built-in safety net when things go wrong with one of the streams.
In today’s lesson, our Success Planning mentor, Alfred Armand Montapert tells us there are four areas of good financial health–Earn, Invest, Save, and Spend. Each is equally important and each impacts all of the other facets. He points out that we all can’t be super-rich but we can improve our own financial position and become “comfortable.” As he says,
Financial success in the highest sense is not so much making money as it is making wise use of money.
As demoralizing as it sounds, we need money in order to make money. But most of the time we don’t even realize how much of our income we are letting slip through our fingers. Mr. Montapert reminds us that financial management requires diligence and skill. Even the wealthiest have to make financial choices. But the payoff is well worth it. Millions are made from investments, interest, and equities rather than wages.
These are the financial goals he tells us we should be working towards:
- Accelerate payment of all debts–it doesn’t make sense to still owe money at a rate that is higher than what we can get from savings (My credit union currently pays less than 1% interest for a regular savings account)
- Get on a cash basis as quickly as possible
- Establish a capital reserve fund to help finance purchases on a cash basis and as a “rainy day” emergency fund
- Create a diversified income
- Income property (rent)
- Stocks and bonds (dividends)
- Miscellaneous sources
We are fortunate in that there are many resources–such as real estate mutual funds–available to us that enable us to create diversified portfolios that weren’t available when Mr. Montapert wrote the Success Planning Manual. But we still need to be alert and active in our money management to ensure that our money is helping us accomplish what we want in life.
Many of us are fooled into thinking, “If I just had $500 more a month, then my problems would go away.” But Mr. Montaper reminds us that is simply magical thinking. He points out that if we can’t manage what we have now, no amount of increase is going to make the problems go away. The key is not necessarily more money but more planning. If our money isn’t helping us live our values, then we are wasting it.
I want to point out that we are talking about a “normal” situation, here. I certainly know from experience that actually having an income can solve a whole host of troubles! But it is tempting to spend any extra money that we bring in instead of using it wisely. For example, this semester I am teaching a class as an “overload” above and beyond my normal administrative responsibilities. For five months, I’ll have a small bump in my regular paycheck. At first, I was envisioning all sorts of goodies I could buy with that bump but then I came to my senses and remembered that we are still rebuilding our financial house after the devastation we suffered two years ago. So I stopped looking at my favorite fabric websites and “window shopping” on Pinterest.
Mr. Montapert finishes his lesson be telling us that a purposeful savings and investment program can be a powerful aid in improving your standard of living and in reaching our desired goals.
Who knew that money management could be so glamorous?
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