“If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.” – Benjamin Franklin
To me, happiness in life is the freedom to do the things that you enjoy, whether it be the type of work you perform, pursuit of personal interests, or spending quality time with the people you love. Financial health – just like physical health – is freedom.
My favorite part of investing is that anyone, and I truly mean anyone, can do it. There are no barriers based on profession, gender, social status, race, age, or even education. If a man or woman can spend one dollar less than he/she makes each month, and then religiously invests that dollar, he/she will be on their path to financial freedom. It is that simple. The problem is that very few people adopt that habit. And the craziest part is that many of the people that don’t, are the same people that we often view as the most financially secure. I like to use athletes, musicians and other highly paid entertainers as a good example of this. While many athletes and celebrities are making seven and eight figure salaries, they can (and do) end up broke or unable to maintain their exuberant lifestyles. One in six NFL players are bankrupt within 10 years of retirement. How does this happen? Well, these supposedly “rich” people spend a dollar more than they make. The result? Instead of finding freedom, they become imprisoned by debt and obligations that they cannot meet.
This outcome is not limited to the famous. I see it across all professions and walks of life. Everywhere you look you can find people spending or “financing” more than they make. This can be very self-destructive and inevitably result in unhappiness. Each time we are tempted to take on a new debt, or buy the latest “it” item, we must stop and remember the time-tested wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. Would you rather appear rich or be happy? I’ll take happy every time.
-Chadd Mason, CEO
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