Wealth Habits – Discretionary Spending

AX_BellaRecently, I met with a financial adviser and she said two things about her practice:

  • I never talk about spending.
  • Most my clients make so much money they don’t need to budget.

I had a physical reaction to those statements.

I felt sick.


Probably because not-spending in my 20s had a pay-off far greater than every investment I will make in my 40s.

Eventually, I settled myself down by writing this article.


#1 – Mean reversion is tendency for natural systems to trend back to the average over time.

Our minds will forecast based on the last 1,000 days, rather than long-term averages.

Therefore, we must force ourselves to consider, what’s the long-term average of this natural system?

Why does this matter in families?

Because the highest-earning family member often lifts everyone’s spending aspirations above the family’s average earning potential. This sets up wealth destruction, as well as unnecessary emotional tension within the family.

The affluent often train their children to destroy wealth.


#2 – Consider the transient nature of peak earnings and their relationship with time

A great quote from Mr. Money Mustache – “far wiser to earn your freedom while you are still fired up about working.”

I started out in finance, a field which gets you spending!

I managed to earn my freedom at 31 years old – most my peers hung in until their late-50s/early-60s. Their 15-30 years of additional commitment enables them to spend my current net worth on an annual basis for the rest of their lives.

We often make the mistake of spending with reference to current income, rather than current wealth.

As a guy that bought his freedom “too early” – it was worth it. I’m part of a small sample set – most people stick it out.


#3 – Am I getting value for money?

Is your spending having it’s desired outcome?

The value-for-money discussion requires uncommon personal honesty about what motivates you.

Our motivations are not always noble!

Own your motivations and tailor spending to optimize these aspects of your life.


There’s no greater impact on financial wealth than current spending.

How many years would your net assets endure based on what you spent last year?

Be most aware of how you spend your time.

How’d you spend your time last year?

There are valuable lessons available from every stage of your family’s life cycle.

2015-01-21 17.50.57