Summary:

  • Turning laziness or lack of direction or purpose into motivation and laser focus on your ultimate mission
  • A hands-off strategy for turning $160 into $250,000 (time required)
  • What creating financial freedom looks like and how you can choose what to do with your days over time with short-term sacrifices

I’m one of the laziest people I know. Sure, I work hard and put in plenty of man hours each week. You’ll rarely find me doing “nothing” or wasting time. I’m always moving forward and working on furthering my career or improving as a human being, but that wasn’t always the case.

In my late teens, I could waste a day away with the best of them. Video games, TV, you name it, I was an A-student in Procrastination 101. I eventually kicked it into gear but if I’m being honest, I’d be snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug staying home all day with little to no activity.

My scenario is probably unique in the sense that I love my job 95% of the time. The other 5%, I still love my job but occasionally suffer from man PMS or something of the sort. Seriously, I won the career lottery and feel that I’d be happy/satisfied for a long time.

But I’m not trying to do that. I’m trying to be lazy and “work” as little as possible. At least not work on things that I don’t want to work on, and that’s part of any job, no matter how great.

The potential routes to perpetual laziness, at least the ones that don’t make your family disown you and make jokes at your expense during the holidays, are few and far between. One thing every route requires is money, and quite a bit of it. The best, legal route is saving money from an early age. Furthermore, saving is not enough. You need to put that money to work and let the magic of compound interest do its work.

“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Boring I know, but the good news is that there’s a secret to saving success – momentum and good ol’ addiction.

Investing is addicting. Once you start seeing your money grow with little to no effort after your initial research/analysis and investment selection, you’ll be hooked on saving. Your dollar-bill-soldiers will be hard at work around the clock. They’ll be making you money while you sleep, while you’re out with friends, and even when you’re dealing with the stressors at work. Where else can you make money for doing zero work? It’s a lazy man’s utopia.

Easier said than done, right? The easiest way to get started, if you’ve never invested anything, is by doing an expense audit. It can be done in less than thirty minutes and could clear up anywhere from ten to twenty bucks to hundreds of dollars. And no matter how much you can save on expenses, every little bit counts. Below you’ll see an example of what I eliminated from my monthly expenses and what that amount could become over time.

I was able to drop the following recurring expenses, along with their monthly cost:

  • Email marketing system I no longer used – $20
  • Cable TV – $60
  • HBO Now (at least until GoT starts up again) – $15
  • Subscription goody box – $25
  • Client management software – $20
  • Pandora One – $5
  • Audible (prefer reading and podcasts)- $15

Total saved: $160 monthly – $1,920 annually

Here we go. Let’s say I invested that $160 each month plus an additional $7 to make my annual contribution around $2,000, for math’s sake.

Let’s say I invest that $160 each month plus an additional $7 to make my annual contribution around $2,000, for math’s sake.

After 5 years with an average, conservative return of 8% annually, I’ll have $13,000 (rounded for pretty numbers). My principal balance, or cash that I’ve contributed, will be $10,000 – nothing mind blowing here.

After 10 years with the same annual return, I’ll have $31,500 with a principal balance of $20,000. Getting better.

After 20 years, I’m looking at $99,500 with a principal balance of $40,000. Daddy like.

Here’s where it gets interesting, after 30 years, a contribution of $60,000 has turned into $246,500.

Okay, I know this leaves a ton of room for error and fluctuation. The main idea here is that the $250,000 is without ever contributing more than that $167 each month or $2,000 per year. I can do better, especially as I earn more throughout my career and life. Also, if I managed to achieve a 10% annual return, the final balance would be around $365,000 on the same monthly contribution.

The big turn off with this scenario is the timeline. 30 years is a distant future and a land far, far away. It’s hard to get jazzed about reaping the rewards of your current sacrifices 30 years down the road, but that’s what could separate you from being a cog in the wheel. What would you rather have, a bunch of “stuff” now or financial freedom (ability to not worry about money and do the things you want to do on a daily basis) while you’re relatively young?

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey

So I challenge you to do an expense audit today. And after you’ve eliminated some monthly expenses, move on to other spending habits that may not fall in the “services/expenses” category. Things like excessive spending on food, alcohol, shopping, or entertainment that could be substituted for other forms are a great place to start. The beauty of this next level of spending audit is its congruency with health and wellness, which happens to be a common goal for everyone. That’s what we call killing two birds with one stone.

Final disclaimer: I may own shares in the companies I mention and this guide, or any other investing and finance-related information on masonwoodruff.com, is not intended to be investment advice. 

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