Yesterday I was listening to the radio and I heard one financial analyst say that most people who don’t save and get into massive amounts of debt lack one simple thing: discipline. Well I am not sure that is true for everybody or even a majority, but to some extent I think that has been part of my overall problem: a lack of discipline to pay off debt, at least in a systematic way. Now I tend to be disciplined in many parts of my life. I typically set deadlines and I meet them. I often meet my goals. I will get up and accomplish tasks for the day. Financially, I have been pretty disciplined at saving. Every paycheck I put in a set amount for retirement and I haven’t touched that money, except to re-balance my portfolio, ever.
However, I haven’t been disciplined in paying off debt and losing weight. The losing weight is a problem I have dealt with most of my life. I always create a goal, but unfortunately I don’t meet it. I am trying to make small changes and making some traction, but the progress is slow and frustrating.
The situation is the same with debt. I will get fired up about something, read something, listen to something and want to implement it, and then I will, but I will fall off the my disciplined horse a couple of months later. I haven’t seen things through to the end.
Maybe that is why I am trying to write this blog to instill that discipline. It is also a way for me to get back into the discipline of writing, which I have been sorely lacking lately. The thing is I know how to get the writing discipline back. I did it, quite successfully, for years and still do to some extent. But this is new to me. I don’t have a specific plan and maybe that is a good thing. Maybe I just have to do some trial and error, mix up different ways of budgeting, save for certain goals, etc and see what works and doesn’t work.
My fear is that if I don’t see big results right away that I will stop or I will just tread water. Yes, I know there are plans out there like Dave Ramsey and I like a lot of what he has to say and disagree with some of what he has to say (another post for another time), but I don’t know if I will follow his plan. See, even with this writing, you can come to see my lack of discipline. It is like feast of famine with me. I will get real excited pay off a huge amount of debt and then quite off drift and then get potentially get back into some old habits.
I guess what it comes down to is I need to create a better plan. I know I need a budget and I need to stick to it. I need to instill some of the discipline that I bring to other aspects of my life. I am not saying others need to do so because each person’s situation is different. However, the financial planner’s declaration that a lack of discipline was the reason many people were in debt and don’t save resonated with me. Maybe because he is right, at least about me.
This article might help some people as well.
Any suggestions? How have you obtained financial discipline? How can you improve?