One of the most important bits of advice I can give to anyone else who is trying to build wealth – pay off debt, save more…spend less…any of these things or all three. TRACK WHAT YOU ARE DOING! Why? because it is a loooooong road sometimes. There will be times when you are certain you are doing horribly and that you haven’t made any progress. Overspending, under-saving. But if you track and periodically come back to the numbers, you can see your progress and, I promise you, it’s not as bad as you think.
At the time of this writing I am weeks away from walking away from a six-figure career. The last few years have been my most successful ever. I am good at what I do. And I am miserable doing it. The weight of the responsibility of doing good work – the gravity of the consequences when, even the best work, results in a horrible outcome for your client…. it’s just too much. Some spend their lives bearing this burden. But the good criminal defense attorneys, the GREAT ones…it comes at a cost.
Two times in our lives we have had reality smack us in the face when it came to realizing how much money a month we were spending on food. The first time was when we first discovered Dave Ramsey years and years ago, and the second time was last year when we discovered the FIRE Community (Financial Independence/Retire Early). I thought I had it all together when it came to our food budget. I knew all the rules. I used to lead Financial Peace classes for Goodness Sake! I was careful about our spending. When we made the commitment last year to begin saving for retirement I didn’t know where we were going to get the extra money to do so. So, I began cutting expenses wherever I could. Imagine my shock when I took a good hard look at our banks statements and realized we were actually spending more than double what we had budgeted every month for food. Whoopsie-doodle…..life had certainly crept back up on us and we didn’t even realize it.