Changing Financial Behavior

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.” ~ Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

While I am not a particular fan of the movie, I do like this quote by the author.

To me, it means self improvement is about changing behavior, not changing me, i.e. my internal essence.   For example, if I want to improve my financial situation, I should be working on behavior changes that help, and not on changing my personal characteristics.  My epiphany is improvement is not about me, it's about what I do.

So how should I decide the behavior change that is needed?

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

As a engineer, I like this quote.   Making the right behavior change requires a little bit of experimentation.   Try an idea, if it works use it.  If it doesn't, then try another idea.  I try to use ideas that have some reasonable basis for being successful.

For me, I found two simple behavior changes that helped me grow our wealth.  The first was to pay ourselves first, i.e. deposit funds into our savings accounts before paying any other bills.  The second was live below our means, which naturally occurred since we paid ourselves first.   This two behavior changes were much simpler and therefore worked better for me than other approaches, such as detailed budgeting.

What I realize now is that retirement requires further changes in financial behavior.  Now that I've internalized that it's not about me, it will be easier to move forward.

For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back Tuesdays for a new segment.

This is not financial or personal development advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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