Think about protein and fat in your diet. Protein plays an essential role in building muscle, tissues and cells and creating hormones and antibodies. Whereas, whilst some fat is important we all know too much leads to serious health issues.
I used this analogy the other day when talking to someone about their spending habits. They confessed to having very little in the way of savings and investments and have tended to spend what they earn on enjoying life and living for ‘now’.
I suggested they sit down and take time to analyse their spending, breaking it down into the areas that are important and are consistent to their values and priorities and the items that are nice luxuries but, in time, they will look back on and not place any value on.
This is where the analogy of proteins and fats come in. The proteins are the expenditure items that are essential to your current and future lifestyle. They are the building blocks of your life. The fats are those, that, while nice to have are luxuries that, if you are honest with yourself you could probably cut back on.
To help your thinking here is a list of expenditures I would file under proteins and fats.
- Household bills
- Pension contributions
- ISA contributions
- Life assurance premiums
- Education (yours or your children’s)
- Food (but even here there are substitutions that could be made).
- Gym membership (but only if you go. And there are many benefits to exercising outdoors beyond it being free).
- Hobbies and interests.
- Anything that is relaxing and restorative (but again free options such as being outdoors could be just as beneficial as a spa treatment).
- Car costs (but is a sports car or SUV essential?)
- Lavish or extra holidays
- Netflix/Amazon Prime
- Your Amazon habit
- Retail therapy
- Gym membership (see above)
- Car costs (see above)
Please understand, I’m not saying you need to cut out all the luxuries. Having no fat in your diet can be as unhealthy as too much. The important point is finding the balance between what you need and what you want.
It is worth taking time to consider what you really value and compare that to what you are spending your money on.
It doesn’t really matter what level of income you have. If you are spending more on the ‘fats’ it is more than likely you will look back with regret because it is a double edge sword: not only are you faced with an opportunity cost; the money you are spending on luxuries could be invested for the future but also you are getting used to a lifestyle that will be very hard to maintain once you get to retirement and the earned income stops.
So will you put your expenditure on a diet?
If you want to discuss how you could benefit from putting your money to better use contact me.