If you’re interested in a financial shortcut, you probably don’t have too much time on your hands. You’re busy, focused on a million things, and you need to get to the good stuff fast so you can get back to work.
So I’ll keep this short, and get to the point. I’m going to share the best financial shortcut I know so you can make the most of it and get to where you want to go, faster.
Here it is:
The best financial shortcut is to understand there is no fancy shortcut.
There is no secret, there is no magical insider tip that will take you from where you are right now to the grandest financial success of your dreams.
Short of winning the lottery or happening to stumble upon a good investment, financial success comes not from big dramatic money moves but from doing the same simple stuff over and over and over again.
Randomness and Chance Look a Lot Like Financial Shortcuts, But Don’t Be Fooled
Now, don’t get me wrong: people do win the lottery. People do trip over once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities. But these kinds of things are explained by chance. They happen, but at random.
And if you bank on a random occurrence to make you rich, you may be severely disappointed.
The very un-glamorous truth is that financial success is stupid-simple to achieve. But it’s really, really hard to do because it requires patience, discipline, focus, and commitment.
You probably possess all these qualities. But to keep them turned on nonstop, all-the-time, through distractions that include instant gratification or just plain boredom — that’s tough to do.
It’s so hard that it can lead you to thinking, “there must be a better way.”
Or, “there’s got to be a way to earn bigger returns.”
Or, “there must be an easier way to save more; I just have to find it.”
The way to save more is to save more. The way to spend less money is to spend less money.
It really is that simple and that straightforward, and the thing is, I’d be willing to bet that deep-down you know this. You’re smart, you’re driven, and you’re determined to succeed — and I guarantee you work really hard in other areas of your life.
Your finances are no different. There’s no financial shortcut. Just hard work and dedication to the process.
You Know What to Do: Now, It’s Just About Doing It
I know I don’t have to tell you to save more. I know you’re aware that if you want to reach your financial goals faster, you need to create a reasonable spending plan that allows you to spend on what you value but cut out what doesn’t really matter so you can save for what does matter.
The problem is not that you don’t understand these fundamentals. The issue is that you’re spending all your energy seeking a shortcut that doesn’t exist.
You avoid the basics in favor of a more complicated strategy that makes you feel productive — but really, it’s just busy work. You’re going through the motions but not actually getting anywhere.
Now, imagine if you took all the energy you’re throwing into hunting down that magical shortcut… and just applied it to doing the stuff you already know:
- Focus on what you can control
- Prioritize saving and investing
- Be honest about the material stuff you don’t need — and don’t even actually want, but just feel pressured to buy because of social pressure or cultural conditioning that says you should
- Commit to the process, and make progress
Again, the good news about all this is that it’s incredibly simple. But sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s not fun, and sometimes we wish we were just at the finish line of our goals already.
The real financial shortcut is understanding that it’s simple, but not always easy and not always fun — and to do the work required anyway, even when it’s not easy and fun.
Nail the Basics So You’re Better Prepared When Things Do Get Complicated
None of this is to say personal finance, financial planning, and investment management never get complex. They do — and that’s why it’s my full-time job to help people figure out those more nuanced, complex, confusing situations.
But the complexity is not in, “how much should I save?”
The complexity lies more in things like, “what is the best possible decision I can make right now? What are my options for this decision? How does each decision I make impact my financial life today — and in 20 years down the road?”
These are the kinds of questions my clients are asking. They’re not coming to me saying, “hey, can you show me how I can spend more money? I don’t really want to do the hard work of saving, I just want to see how much I’m allowed to spend and I’ll save the bare minimum.”
My clients’ attitudes are much different.
They want to know all the best ways they can create and maximize their wealth. They want to know how to leverage their cash flow to spend on their values today — but they’re not concerned about all the other stuff they could spend on because their dreams for the future are worth more to them.
Don’t waste your time and energy running around looking for a shortcut so you can spend whatever you want now and still reach your financial goals tomorrow. Unless you have unlimited money, that shortcut doesn’t exist.
Commit to the basics so you can elevate your conversations to a more complex level, and see how each financial decision you make today makes an impact on you immediately, in the short term, and throughout the rest of your life.
By doing so, you can really dial in and optimize your finances to create what you really want, both today and tomorrow.