Comfortable is broke

Most people don’t have a money problem, they actually have a comfort problem.  This comfort problem makes people spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t NEED in order to find comfort in the approval of others.  Comfort takes even the highest income earner and turns them into a low saver and as a result a low investor. Comfort takes the low income earner and turns them into a charity case.

Comfort is the enemy of progress.  Every time I get comfortable, aka chill/take days off/relax, my life starts to drift back into a place I don’t want to be. What does comfort look like? Comfort looks like watching TV at night, taking weekends off, over spending, and living to impress others with my possessions.  Here are five ways that I keep myself uncomfortable in order to ensure continued progress in my life and my finances.

Public transportation 

I hate the train and I hate the bus.  I would much rather drive my own car in my own space on my own time.  That comfort unfortunately leads to broke.  All of that comfort requires that I buy gas, pay tolls to avoid traffic, pay for maintenance and place the stress and strain on your body that comes with sitting in hours of traffic (not avoidable by toll roads) in and out of Orange County.

Train tickets are $170/ month, no maintenance required. No stress.  The only stress is when the train is late.  Compare that to the $100/week in gas plus $15/day in tolls, plus $1,000 in tires and brakes annually, plus higher insurance for commuting and you are losing bigly.

Taking the train isn’t fun but it gives you a greater margin between your monthly expenses and your monthly income.  Even if you can afford to drive, it makes sense to not drive.

Not buying liabilities

The problem with buying liabilities is that it creates a chain of other linked purchases.  I’m not talking about the obvious stuff like cars and maintenance.  I am talking about suits, shoes, dinners, haircuts, wireless headphones, new iPhones.  Whatever you buy often times requires that you buy more and more complementary things.

If you buy suits, you then buy the shirts, ties, shoes and belt that go with that suit. This turns a $500 suit into a $750 purchase.  If you buy the new iPhone you then get the case, and the upgraded data plan and the ear pods.  You then upgrade all other elements of your life.  At this point in my life I am only interested in upgraded my assets and falling in love with buying more assets.

You have to put a stop on ALL purchases not just some purchases.  Half measures avail us nothing.  My favorite blog post was where I encouraged my readers to “get ugly”.  This is so key.  You have to be willing to NOT do certain things while you let paper stack. You have to be willing to get ugly and do that by not buying the pretty things that attach you to the requirement to buy more pretty things.

Work weekends

I have a millionaire mentor who came from a millionaire family.  Her father was one of the most wealthy men in Watts when he was alive.  When I first started working with her it was to learn how she became so successful.  What I learned was that SHE doesn’t take weekends off either.  What I also learned is that being around people helps you take on their habits, good or bad.  Much of what I write about in this post is what she practices.  As a result, this has rubbed off one me.

One day I told her how hard I was working (5 days in the office and 2 days with her, while running my business and studying for an MBA).  She told me that her millionaire father never took days off either.  This reminds me of the Grant Cardone quote that successful people will never tell you to do less.  She didn’t have pitty on me. She told me to keep going.

Working weekends causes you to miss out on cool events, parties and concerts. But it brings in cash, knowledge, perks, connections and experience, while everyone else is out dulling the sword with alcohol and rap music and at the same time wasting money on the kind of experiences that don’t grow you professionally and in business.

Working weekends allows you to not spend but also earn and learn.  If you are working you can’t spend money, if you can’t spend you save by default.  Those extra hours and dollars might not mean much NOW but five years from now they will have you leaps and bounds ahead of people who spent those same weekends wearing less and going our more.

Living expenses below 30% take home income 

People who struggle don’t struggle because of their Starbucks habit.  They struggle because of the major expenses in their life. Those tend to be housing, transportation and food.  A good rule to live by is to have your housing budget under 30% of your net household income.  If and when you get your housing to this number doors open up.

One of the worst things you can do when you are buying a house is buy as much as you are qualified for.  This is a sure fire way to becoming house poor. House poor is the got them jays though of home ownership.  People don’t just own house poor they rent house poor.  I know, I was there when I lived on the golf course.  It was lit but it was also tight.

Much of this is ego and the need to impress people.  Impressing people is part of being comfortable.  By avoiding their criticism you are comfortable in their approval.  You will be broke though.  When I moved into my box apartment in Los Angeles a lot of people had opinions. That wasn’t comfortable, I had bread though.

Tell your mom to chill

Mothers love to encourage you to do whats comfortable. They don’t want you to hurt or want, but there is no growth in that.  Recently I have told my mom it’s her job to support my growth not encourage comfort.  Mom’s will hold you back into familiar territory.  You have to at some point tell your mom that you love her but its time for you to fly into greatness.  That greatness is often times success at levels that people in your family have never seen.

An example is buying property in Michigan.  My mom wanted me to buy locally because it makes sense, its easy and as a result a comfortable way to invest.  The problem is that there is no growth in that.  We can get much better returns going out of state and creating systems to solve problems that most people won’t ever step into.  As a result we have conquered a problem and now effectively dominate a niche.

The problem with comfort is that everyone is doing it and if everyone is doing it there is no more money in it.  This is why a college degree just isn’t enough anymore.  If everyone has a degree then you aren’t rare, if you aren’t rare you become a commodity and are worth less.  Apply this to your daily life.  You must be willing to leave the zone of comfort if you want to earn more than the masses that dwell there. 

Conclusion

Don’t just be the person that engages in certain uncomfortable actions to achieve a short term goal.  The key is to fall in love with being uncomfortable.  When people hit a wall they tend to do the short term things that will help them win.  Then when they win they go back to doing what made them have to make the sacrifice.  They go back to over spending, over consuming and under exercising.  The key is that comfort and the process IS the lifestyle.  It is not what you do to achieve the lifestyle.  The real winners are working, they aren’t blowing money like rappers and they live disciplined lives.  It is up to US, myself included, to fall in love with uncomfortable knowing that the true luxuries avail themselves to people that commit to the process not the fruits of the process.  If you are interested in working with one of our personal coaches email us at info@capitaltodd.com

Be great, invest well,

Todd Millionaire

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