The Surprising Ways Your Financial Discipline is Impacting Your Success
What does success mean to you? While everyone's definition varies, there are some common components — often involving a close-knit group of family and friends, a rewarding career, a home, maybe some travel, and the chance to make an impact in your community.
If any of that sounds familiar, you might be surprised to find that one of the keys to achieving your vision of success is financial discipline. Without a plan for how you're going to save money, pay off debt, and cover important purchases, chances are you're not going to get where you want to be financially. But when you stick to a budget and clearly define your vision of success, you'll find that life becomes richer — and not just in terms of money.
Constraints allow you to develop a lifestyle that supports your financial goals, just as they do when it comes to health and overall time management. You have to say no to some things so you can say yes to others. Here's how financial discipline impacts your success:
Reach Financial Milestones
Financial discipline enables you to reach your big goals faster than a scattershot savings plan. Following your budget and sacrificing niceties such as a morning latte or costly new pair of running shoes could help you fulfill your financial dreams within a much shorter timeline than you once imagined. Every time you put discretionary income into your savings or apply it toward paying down debt, you're one step closer to purchasing your dream home, setting up your children's college fund, or taking that three-month sabbatical to travel through Southeast Asia.
Accelerate Wealth Creation
If you've been disciplined enough to pay off your debt and you've met your financial milestones, you'll be in a position to invest your money strategically. You can work with a fiduciary financial advisor who can help you establish an investment strategy that will maximize your income and help you secure your long-term stability.
Become More Reflective About Your Spending
When you curb impulsive spending, you give yourself the mental space to reflect on why you want to buy certain items. People often spend to cope with stress and emotional hardships. Shopping provides a certain thrill, and the newly-purchased items are a distraction from what's going on internally. When you commit to financial discipline, you have to pause before you spend and ask yourself about your motivations.
Do you really enjoy dining out five nights a week, or are you too exhausted at the end of the workday to do anything besides collapse in front of the TV with some takeout? Do you need to engage in costly social activities every night of the week, or would you benefit from some quiet time to plan out your long-term goals? When the urge to spend strikes, is it because shopping is genuinely fun for you or because you're trying to avoid some difficult emotions?
A reflective mindset can not only help you achieve financial stability, but it may also help you find healthier ways of dealing with tough times. Going for a walk or calling a friend to vent can be just as cathartic as shopping, and they won't derail your financial future. Meditation, exercise, and therapy also offer long-term solutions for stress management. Combined with decreased impulse spending, which can exacerbate feelings of stress or shame, these tactics may provide long-term benefits to your mental and physical health and your overall well-being.
Make Room for Generosity
Personal finance author and radio host, Dave Ramsey, is known for telling people to "Live like no one else so you can live and give like no one else." He advocates for getting your financial house in order so that you can accumulate wealth and generously give to family, friends, and causes that are important to you.
When you practice discipline, you're better equipped to help out others in need or to treat those you love on special occasions. Turning down invitations to pricey events and cooking at home every night may be tough. However, those small sacrifices will be worth it when you're able to take your parents on an anniversary cruise or surprise a friend by flying across the country to see them for an important birthday.
Thinking longer-term, financially disciplined people are able to use their money to affect change in society by donating to charities, supporting political campaigns they believe in, and establishing resources from which their communities benefit.
Financial discipline matters to your success even if wealth creation isn't your priority. Strong money habits facilitate being able to be successful on your own terms. By consistently reminding yourself of your core goals, and drawing a line between them and financial stability, you'll be motivated to stay disciplined and you will achieve the fulfilling life of which you've dreamed.