This is an excerpt from my new book, The 4 Minute Millionaire*. If you enjoy it, you can buy a copy on Amazon for $4. Disclaimer: This is not financial advice.
Imagine your paycheck is a bus:
Every passenger on that bus represents one dollar of income. At the beginning of the month, the bus arrives. You get on to see what happens to your income as the days go by. The bus starts driving along. Some dollars get off at the grocery store. Some at your utility company. Others leave at the dry cleaner’s, Amazon Prime, and the video game shop. Think through all the stops until the bus is empty. Take a minute if need be.
Are you done? Did all your dollars get off ? Here’s where it gets interesting: As you observed your dollars leaving the bus, where did you imagine yourself sitting? Were you tucked away in the last row, helplessly watching your precious dollars leave? Somewhere in the middle, perhaps, frantically looking around at other passengers?
It’s a common thing to wonder at the end of the month:
“Where did all my money go?”
Since our money ends up with so many other people, we often feel like a victim. Who took our hard-earned dollars? And why did they take so many of them?
The truth, however, is that you’re the driver of the bus. You decide who gets off where and why. No dollar leaves the bus without your permission. No one is taking your money. You’re giving it to people. It’s time to accept you’re the one steering the bus.
You are the one in control of all your finances.
You must realize this. It is the first step towards financial freedom. Imagine a money manager denying managing money is their job – how can they possibly do it well?
Don’t sit in the back seat of your own bus! Don’t yell at the government, your employer, or the economy as you watch your dollars disappear. Step up to your job. Take the wheel. You decide when the doors open. You decide which dollar goes where. No one else.
Yes, there are plenty of obstacles on the path to financial freedom. The media confuse you with their contradictory information. The education system provides no financial knowledge at all. It’s all true. Still, excuses will always stay excuses, no matter how accurately you can point at their source.
Today is the youngest you’ll ever be, and with money and investing, nothing is more important than starting as early as you can. Stop blaming external factors and start taking responsibility for your money.
It’s the first step towards building wealth.
Action Item: Think about a time when you felt like a financial victim but were actually in control.
Did you ever lose money on a bad investment? Miss out on a good chance to make a buck? How did you feel in that moment?
Did you blame the poor reporting in the paper? Or the person who got the opportunity? Any outside factors, really? Was it truly their fault? Or did you have enough time to strike but didn’t use it?
Money is a global system with millions of players. It’s easy to point at any one of them when something goes wrong. Most of the time, however, the player who messed up is the one in the mirror.
Consider one of those times and spend a few minutes thinking about what the real issue was. Find the root on the inside so you can stop barking up the wrong tree.