Discipline – not money – for financial independence

Affirmative action, compounding, Financial Independence, Human Brain

Yesterday I was listening to a talk by Keith Cunnigham. He is an author of multiple books including the book “The Road Less Stupid”

During this talk with Joe Polish, Keith asked a very pertinent question and I paraphrase it here- “If you were to look back at your 3 financial decisions seriously would you have been better off by not having taken those decisions”

I started thinking about my major decisions and one of them was buying a house. I have written a full post earlier also on this – that it was not a decision I would like anyone to take because it chokes the financial bandwidth – if you are buying it with a loan. If you are buying it all cash then its a good asset or taking a loan of the amount which gives you some kind of tax advantage then its worthwhile.

But then I started thinking again whether I would have been better off financially by not buying the house. On a theoretical calculation, the amount of installments I am paying on my mortgage, if I had been investing the same amount in equities or mutual funds, because of the compounding over 20 years, I would have been much better off to buy this house today and still have lots money left over.

However when I think on the flip side, by buying the house and having monthly mortgage payment, I had to exercise a tremendous amount of discipline to ensure that the payment was done on a given date. I am not sure I had the maturity at the time of putting up SIPs and I was financially illiterate to ensure that I block of the amount into an investment on a monthly basis.

Which brings me to the bigger point – for financial independence – which I have devoted a lot of my posts on – has very little to do with what you earn. It has more to do with what you invest automatically. The key word over here being automatic.

If you think you can have the discipline to ensure consistency every month , to invest on your own, chances are your brain will play games and you will find multiple excuses for not investing. On the other hand if the money will go out of your account automatically even before you get to use it, then you will find a way to manage your finances with the remaining money.

To come back on Keith’s point, yes I would have had a better financial position, provided I had the discipline to ensure my monthly investments.

How are you doing on the financial discipline side, look forward to hearing your comments.

Till next time.

Carpe Diem!!!

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