New and exciting companies bring relevance and meaning to our lives. One such emerging company is Financially Fit www.financiallyfit.com Entrepreneur, Steve Down, has founded many companies, including Even Stevens Sandwiches, which is a fast growing restaurant concept. www.evenstevens.com
Steve says that his companies are based on Principled Centered Wealth. I was most intrigued by the Financially Fit principle Steve refers to as Wealth Bound. Steve says that you should never be bound to a budget; rather, be wealth bound.
Imagine, for a moment, you are lost in a stormy financial sea and you were then offered a Wealth Compass.
The Wealth Compass is based on the premise that you can spend money one of four ways. Your money is going East, West, North or South. Your money can’t go any other direction.
EAST SPENDING – APPRECIATING ASSETS.
Money going East is money spent on things that appreciate in value. East spending, or Appreciating Assets, include such things as stocks, bonds, real estate, education, and buying or starting a business.
East expenditures are high-priority and low-pressure. They are high-priority because they are based upon your core values and lead you towards your wealth vision and goals. They are low-pressure because there is no pressure to spend money on things that appreciate in value. No one is going to show up at your door demanding you start your IRA.
East expenditures are motivated from within. Because motivation is internal, such expenditures are low-pressure. East expenditures require the creation and constant review of your personal wealth vision that becomes your rising sun.
Only if you have internalized a clear and passionate wealth vision can you avoid the many enticements and winds from West, North and South spending that can take you off course. The rich typically have most of their money going True East by investing into Appreciating Assets. Ultimately, East spending allows you to pay cash for that dream home, vacation, luxury car or whatever else represents your wealth vision, dreams and goals.
The general rule for money going East is maximum spending.
WEST SPENDING – DEPRECIATING LIABILITIES.
West expenditures are generally defined as Depreciating Liabilities. This means your money is invested into things that go down in value.
Depreciating Liabilities, or West expenditures, are opposite from East expenditures or Appreciating Assets. The poor have much of their money invested into Depreciating Liabilities, which are often financed such as the boat in the driveway that cannot fit into the garage because the boat is bigger than the house.
The perfect example of a Depreciating Liability is the motor home that has been bought on emotion, never comparison shopped, financed at high interest, requires storage and maintenance, immediately and highly depreciates and is seldom used.
West expenditures are low-priority and low-pressure and are highly emotional. West expenditures can take us the opposite direction of our vision and goals—our core values. Therefore, they’re considered low-priority.
Dollars going to the Wild West are typically driven by internal forces such as vanity or pride.
West spending is the cycle of spending money you don’t have, to buy things you don’t want, to impress people you don’t like.
West expenditures often are in direct opposition to initiative and self-discipline.
Spending, like eating is 90% emotional. Simply stated, we spend by emotion and then justify by logic. Often, West expenditures are made to fill other unmet emotional needs. For example, someone suffering from low self-esteem may try to over compensate by leasing or financing an expensive sports car.
West expenditures, leased or financed, create an illusion of prosperity.
We then find ourselves in bondage to a piece of metal or other man-made objects that have suddenly lost their allure and have already depreciated in value. This can turn into hating the possession we thought we’d love. This is when we truly learn that less is usually more when it comes to our spending.
CHOOSING BETWEEN EAST & WEST SPENDING.
Examine the lives of the super wealthy. You’ll discover that the one common thread they share is their consistent spending into East expenditures or Appreciating Assets as opposed to money going West into Depreciating Liabilities.
Some have been doing it for generations.
It’s important to realize that whenever you go West financially, someone else is going East. That someone usually includes your banker. Think about it—you pay interest and they collect it!
For an ever-increasing number of people, the real paradox is this: lifestyle and things accumulated by West spending disappear, often, in bankruptcy court. And once in bankruptcy, the rich then pick up the foreclosed property for a fraction of the original purchase price and goes to the highest bidder who pays cash. So, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer!
Never forget that nothing robs one’s financial future more than the inability to defer gratification.
Some make the mistake of thinking that West expenditures are the comforts and luxuries of life and should forever be avoided. That’s far from the truth and is scarcity thinking.
Luxuries are the fruits of abundance and the benefits of East spending.
Luxuries are good things. West expenditures are luxuries you cannot afford. Can you make the distinction between the two? The point is this—West expenditures enslave you to installment debt, depreciate in value, complicates your life and places you on the financial treadmill.
More than any other expenditure, it’s the West expenditures that seem to rob you of your future financial health and wealth. Worse, they destroy your physical health and relationships along the way. Seldom should you borrow for or finance West expenditures or Depreciating Liabilities. Rather, pay cash.
The general rule for money going West is: conservative spending. That way, more money can go true East—wealth bound!
SOUTH SPENDING – LIVING EXPENSES.
South expenditures are monthly obligations, including your basic Living Expenses.
South expenditures exhibit Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs at work, which states basic needs, such as food and shelter, must be met before funding the IRA. For the masses, money going South simply means “making ends meet” rather than “living the good life.”
Until the day you die, you will have to keep South spending a high-priority. If you don’t, you may learn in succeeding months the real meaning of high-pressure. The phone will start to ring and the past due notices will start to pile up.
Your home mortgage is a good example of a high-pressure South expenditure. Following 90 days of non-payment of your mortgage you’ll come to an awakening of who actually owns your home; the real owner is the bank and not you. South expenditures require very little initiative or self-discipline.
South expenditures include any expenses needed to support yourself and your dependents and any expenses you’ve committed to pay on a regular basis. Such expenses include your rent or mortgage payment, food, car payments, insurance premiums, pet expenses and annual property taxes.
With just a quick read of the Wealth Compass, most people can see that too much of their money goes due South—or, overdue!
The money they have left over is then scattered to the North and West winds. On average, most people will spend about eighty percent of their money going South; most of the balance going North or West; and less than three percent going True East.
As these habits persist, South expenditures become ever increasing and all consuming. Compounding South expenditures eventually exhaust funds going East and may ultimately consume existing Appreciating Assets.
South expenditures are both high-priority and high-pressure. Because South expenditures are externally motivated, they are high-pressure. In the event that South obligations are not met on a timely basis or neglected, every other aspect of your life is adversely affected.
This includes your emotional health, your physical health and your relationships; according to a university study, it was revealed that 89% of all divorces are directly related to financial problems.
SOUTH EXPENDITURES WILL EXPAND.
Left to chance, South expenditures will always expand equal to your income unless you take conscious action to the contrary. When South expenditures exceed your income it will typically be just a matter of time before you will experience a financial stroke or coronary, which is bankruptcy.
Prudence blended with abundance is a healthy mix for South spending.
Such a mix creates a lifestyle that can be referred to as simple abundance where, oft times, less is more.
Over time, your South expenditures should consistently diminish proportionately to your increase of cash flow. This should be a natural process, as you become totally debt free.
If you’ll keep your South expenditures below the 50% mark of your total income, you’ll never need to worry. By so doing, you’ll never live “paycheck to paycheck.” And, the thousands of “cash advance” outlets located in nearly every shopping center will go broke—not you.
The general rule for money going South is: Prudent Spending.
NORTH SPENDING – FINANCIAL LEAKS.
Finally, we have North expenditures. North expenditures are the daily Financial Leaks in your life. Money going North is usually driven by emotion and impulse. Many times they are made out of convenience.
Sometimes they are done out of indulgence.
North expenditures include fast food restaurants, gourmet coffee shops, vending machines and snacks and drinks while getting gas. The dark and dreary North could include excessive alcohol, tobacco, drugs, lottery tickets and gambling.
North expenditures often sidetrack us from the direction of our core values, vision, and goals.
They are those things that really don’t seem to matter much to you when it comes to your actual happiness. In fact, after some serious thought, you may discover these things to be meaningless. Some North expenditures are bought and consumed mainly out of habit. You might even come to the conclusion that you’d be better off without them.
In some cases, your future health and happiness will actually depend on minimizing such spending.
North expenditures are typically motivated by external forces; such as time pressure, low blood sugar and poor planning. North expenditures may also satisfy cravings and the desire for pleasure or fun. Or, deeper, they appeal to man’s baser needs such as addiction or greed. They are considered high-pressure.
For example, imagine standing in the grocery line to pay for your groceries and you see a lottery ticket screaming at you “Buy me, it’s your lucky day!” You then think to yourself, “I could be the big winner; after all, someone has to win!”
North expenditures are often bought with cash in your pocket or credit or debit card.
After all, what’s the big deal when it’s only a few bucks or spare change? The big deal is that once you add up all these seemingly unimportant impulsive Financial Leaks in your life, you’ll then discover that they are potentially robbing you of your future wealth, security and financial peace of mind.
To illustrate, if a 30 year old set aside just five dollars per day (the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee) and invested it into an account that averaged twelve percent interest per year, how much would he or she have for retirement at age 65? The answer is nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Simply put, if you can afford to have a daily Starbucks, then you can afford to become a millionaire!
Your North expenditures will be determined, ultimately, by your personal wealth vision, goals and what you have decided beforehand. The final decision will be based upon your financial integrity; decisions that are in alignment with what you truly want.
Remember: The general rule for money going North is: Minimum Spending.
There you have it—a simple principle called Wealth Bound. You can teach children how to be Wealth Bound by using the Wealth Compass. They will teach each other that by stopping at McDonalds to buy a happy meal for a Star Wars toy is money going North. They can get the bicycle they really want faster by saving rather than impulsive spending at McDonalds.
When a Financially Fit principle can be understood and taught by a child, you know that it has the power to go viral. It can change the world.