Five Microscopic Choices for Subtly Improving Your Financial Future

Tim Denning

Tiny compound results become worthwhile over time.

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Microscopic choices go unnoticed. You make them without realizing it.

I quit my job recently. I kept waking up at 6 AM like a good little self-help boy.

The alarm on my phone goes off. I walk to the other side of the bedroom to turn it off. A thought comes to mind: “You don’t have to wake up now. Go back to bed. You’re tired. You’ve earned this. Just thirty more minutes.”

Within days I was losing a full hour in the morning. It’s a tiny shift in routine and it quickly spiraled out of control. My ability to work during my most productive hours — the morning — is key to surviving without a regular salary.

Choice #1 — Light your to-do list on fire

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” — Stephen Covey

Our financial future is built on top of the tasks we choose to do each day. I focus on completing my most important task first. Everything else can wait. Once my most important task is done, I have a sense of freedom. Anything else that gets done is a bonus.

Ditch the to-do list. Write a list with the title “the most important task for the day.” Put one dot point under the title. Make it your most important task for the day. Then prioritize that task above emails and pointless app notifications.

Choice #2 — Commit to the meditation practice of the finance world

It’s not how much money you make.
It’s not how much money you save.
It’s how much money you invest.

You already knew that. You earn money from investing that strengthens your financial position. Although the many crypto crashes have taught us a valuable lesson: if you invest all at once you’ll likely sell too soon or panic.

Dollar-cost averaging is the meditation practice of the finance world. Repeat that over and over.

You slowly invest a regular amount of money into a pre-determined list of assets. The typical investor says “I want to own $20K of Amazon stock.” The next day they put $20K in Amazon stock.

The calm investor does the opposite. They invest their money slowly over time. Some months they get Amazon stocks at record low prices. Other months they pay top dollar. But over time they even out the risk of buying Amazon stock and get to their desired investment level.

Dollar-cost averaging helps you sleep at night.

Choice #3 — Doing the work that makes your boss a raging mess

You decide to work on a project after hours. You believe your boss and colleagues will be happy for you when they find out.

The work continues after hours in silence. You build a little traction first before telling anybody what you’re doing.

Finally, you’re ready to share with a few people what you’re working on. You mistakenly think all of them will be happy for you. That they’ll be standing in the corner with you in the boxing ring, ready to see where you can take this little dream of yours. You tell a colleague at work.

What do they do?

They try and talk you out of it.

“It’s risky. You’ve got a family. Do you know how hard it is?”

“Let me tell you about all the people I know who have failed at doing exactly what you’re doing.”

They go on and on. Then you tell your boss at work. “So I’m working on a project that’s going to make me a little extra money. I can’t wait to show you. You’ll like what I’ve created and it really inspires people.” You think your side hustle is an inspiration for others. And it is.

Your boss thinks your side hustle is a threat to the work you already do.

Obviously, they can’t stop you working on stuff outside of work hours. But eventually it can make them noticeably angry with you over time. They believe you have to be fully invested in your job to hit your KPIs and make them look good in front of their superiors so they can get a fat bonus.

Your side hustle puts your boss’s bonus at risk.

A boss who might miss their financial reward and risk losing their job title because of you is going to sway you towards their way of thinking. They’ll disguise the advice as mentoring. They’ll pretend they’ve got your best interests front and center.

But no. Your boss probably doesn’t want your side hustle to do well.

Solution

Do the work anyway. Don’t talk about your side hustle at work.

Dare to be a quiet individual contributor who gets their work done and realizes that there are others way to succeed financially, beyond being enslaved at a normal job for the rest of your life, following someone’s else rules, while working at a crowded superspreader office, in a highly-populated postcode you’ve got to trade a lot of time for money for to afford to live in.

When you discover your after hours creative genius it pisses people off. Why? They may not have found theirs. Don’t let the missed opportunities of others rob you of your financial potential.

Choice #4 — Smart diversification

I nearly drowned in my own saliva yesterday.

I spoke to a writer friend who I helped introduce to cryptocurrency investing. My original suggestion was simple: 1) Invest what you can afford to lose 2) Invest 80% in bitcoin and 20% ethereum. He did the opposite.

“I decided to invest in 100% dogecoin. It’s been pretty good.”

My heart sank. He bought a meme coin with no real use cases. More importantly, he used zero diversification. He went to the casino and put his life savings on red.

A better choice is diversification. Don’t invest in one thing. A black swan event like a global health crisis can wipe out entire industries overnight. Governments can introduce new laws that favor or hinder technology.

A lack of diversification is thinking you know it all. Diversification is smart risk mitigation. Investment legend Warren Buffet famously hates diversification. “Diversification is a protection against ignorance.”

That may be true for professional investors who spend their whole day working out what assets to buy and what the risks are. But for us normies, diversification is a way to protect yourself from the guaranteed downsides of free markets and unpredictable human nature.

Choice #5 — A change in habit

Getting out of debt is 20% knowledge and 80% a change in habit.
Fiona The Millennial Money Woman

Habits determine your financial future. What you do consistently produces the results that lead to money hitting your bank account. Financial savviness is a discipline. Discipline isn’t built by willpower. Discipline occurs when you use habits to get results, and see what’s possible afterwards.

When you can see tiny results, what you believe is financially possible changes.

True wealth is extremely quiet

I definitely needed this reminder:

“Poor is flashy. Rich is loud. Wealth is quiet.”

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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