Are You Focused on Today or Tomorrow?
Are you focused on today or tomorrow? This year or next year? The reason I ask this question is because of the difference in thinking between wealthy people and non-wealthy people. I’ve read plenty of books on the subject of wealthy people and the throughout all of them, there seems to be one underlying theme: focusing on today or tomorrow. As I thought about this mindset, it became very clear as to how thinking one way or the other impacts your finances.
Are You Focused on Today or Tomorrow?
In general, the wealthy focus on tomorrow or the future when it comes to finances. The non-wealthy focus on today, or the now with their finances. Put another way, when buying a car, the wealthy will focus on the overall total cost of the car, say $30,000. The non-wealthy will focus on the $350 monthly payment. The error in thinking this way for the non-wealthy is that I can find a way to charge them $350 per month for a $20,000 as well as a $35,000 car. It all depends on the interest rate I charge and the length of the loan. By focusing on the monthly payment, the non-wealthy are essentially guaranteeing themselves to not become wealthy.
Another way to look at it is with the lottery. The non-wealthy focus on buying lottery tickets and what they would do with all of that money. The wealthy instead focus on investing the money that could be used to buy lottery tickets into a business that will grow their income in the future or invest the money into the market so that it grows. The non-wealthy focus on today, the wealthy focus on tomorrow.
Train Yourself to Focus on Tomorrow
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and focus on today instead of the future when it comes to our finances. But we must work at it if we are to achieve the financial success we desire. Here are some tips to integrate into your lives:
Continue to live on last year’s salary. Any raise that you receive, either increase your 401(k) contribution with it or automatically invest it. Do not budget for it by increasing your clothing expense or dining out expense.
Think before you buy. Ask yourself if buying this is going to get you to where you want to be financially. If the answer is no, then shelve the purchase. If it’s a yes, then purchase it. This isn’t to say you should completely deprive yourself of everything that doesn’t better your bottom line. You can still enjoy life, just be more conscious of what you buy.
Look for business ideas. This isn’t to say you should jump into owning a business because it increases your chances of becoming wealthy. Focus on the things you enjoy doing and you might stumble upon a business idea that you earn an income off of. Once you have the idea, research to see if it is a viable opportunity or not.
If you have found a viable opportunity, don’t get all excited and spend all of the profits it earns. Save and invest the earnings instead.
I truly believe the difference between the wealthy and the non-wealthy is a mindset. The wealthy knew becoming wealthy was in the realm of possibility before they were wealthy and focused on the future. Everything they did was preparing them for attaining more wealth down the line. The non-wealthy on the other hand see becoming wealthy more of a dream than a reality. As a result they live their day to day lives focusing on today. They dream that they will win the lottery or that money will fall into their laps. But that isn’t how it works. It takes a lot of hard work and planning to become wealthy. The question is:
Are you willing to do the work and focus on tomorrow instead of today?
For almost any kind of long-term goal your mindset is the biggest determining factor in your success or failure. I’ve become so much more relaxed and confident that I’ll be able to retire early and comfortably now that I’ve really taken control of my finances and saving/investing. It won’t be a quick journey but I’m well on the way towards the end. Have a great 2014!
For saving and investing, I am always focused on tomorrow. My wife and I plan to retire in 9 years, so that is our current focus. When it comes to living, my focus is on today.