I will never forget the advice that my late Uncle who was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) told me as I graduated from college and entered into the “real” working world. As we were reviewing what my first year as a practicing accountant out of college starting salary would be versus my expenses to now live he stopped me in my budgeting tracks. He told me that the most important bill that I pay was to myself first. We talked a lot about how much my monthly charge to myself would be and arrived at a number that would meet some long term savings goals that I had and a time frame that I would be comfortable getting there.
I must say that I was a little bit wary of his advice as I did not want to ever be in danger of not affording my rent or food but trusted the process. I proceeded and stuck to the plan by simply directing a portion of my paycheck to automatically be deposited into a savings account straight from my employer and the rest go to my operating account where I would pay everything else out from. What ended up being so neat about the way I had this set up is that I never knew what having my full paycheck in my operating account ever felt like, therefore I never felt like I was missing money. I did not log in or check my savings account balance until the end of year one of working full-time. Holy moly! I simply could not believe that I had a chunk of money as I did in my name, in simply one years’ time but better yet it felt like “found” money as I never had it to spend anyway.
As a twenty-one year old this was a fabulous feeling and I wanted to keep feeling it. So as I would get annual merit increases I increased my contribution to this automatic savings account by the same amount. I am now forty-one years old and not only do I continue this what I now call the “golden rule” I have been able to pass it along to family members and friends that asked for my advice and were willing to take and implement it. Every single one of these people has called me year after year simply stunned with their progress. My own sister-in-law who started this from day one of her post-college job is now eight years in and had enough for a down-payment for her first home. The amazing news is that it was not a “starter” home purchase but she had the funds available to purchase a home that she can see herself in for much longer than five years, which many have said is the timeframe one must remain in any home that they purchase.
It is time now however for me to take another step and establish a second golden rule. I am now 19 years into the “real” working world. Feel free to do the calculation on how old I am now. A lot has changed; I am a wife, mother of two children, a homeowner for close to twelve years, and have accumulated a number of assets. I am the captain of the ship in my family as I have taken on the role of family Chief Financial Officer, activities/camp director, house manager/organizer all while working full time and giving everyone what they need emotionally. I however have realized that if I want to perform the ultimate act of love I need to start to delegate and share all of this knowledge that I hold in my head with my co-captain, my husband. It was so daunting when I sat down to actually do it. I was determined to find a solution and a way to make this process of regurgitating everything that I needed to share with my spouse in order to empower him with the information that we have built together. I like to get things done quickly and get right to the point. I don’t have much time to spend. So that is exactly what I did, I developed a comprehensive set of YES or NO questions that I answer in an online digital vault and create my very own memoir. The tool is called My Macro Memoir and I now just added a second golden rule to the way I approach my life for long-term planning. I have a living and breathing, real-time tool to quickly update as anything changes or enters or leaves our lives.
My advice for those out of college would be to trust the process and never let yourself feel your full paycheck in your operating bank account and save anything that you can and my advice for those approaching their 40’s is to get it together and capture the progress that you have made in this simple way to ensure peace-of-mind which to me has unlimited value. I would love to share the feeling that My Macro Memoir has provided me with you.
Now go get it done!