Every time we are going into Home Depot or Lowe’s and my wife is with me, I mention in excitement as I point to the riding mowers, “Oh! We should get one of those!” She rolls her eyes and says, “You don’t need one, and you mow the lawn for exercise, anyway.” It’s true that I mow the lawn for some exercise, and I am mostly joking around. If I used a riding mower, it would be for fun. Using a riding lawn mower wouldn’t save me more than 15 minutes to mow my lawn each time. The easiest is not always the best. I always conclude that there’s not much point in using a riding lawn mower and then going for a 4-mile walk that day.
The same goes with picking up fast food on the way home from work and buying prepackaged lunches so people don’t have to cook. We have grown so accustomed in America to doing what’s ever the easiest and forget that maybe our bodies suffer for it.
Finances Are No Different
It’s the same with our finances—the easiest is not always the best. It’s easy to spend money. Sometimes we spend money on things to make the rest of our life easy. Some of that is ok. I would rather fly or drive than walk 2000 miles to visit my mom or my wife’s parents. Many other times it’s not ok to keep on the easy path if you are wanting to build wealth. Usually doing what is easiest costs money now and later on.
My wife and I don’t like to clean. Who does, right? Although it’s easiest to hire a monthly or weekly cleaner, we don’t. Sometimes people hire a cleaner to save them time, but does it really save time? At $25 an hour, where does this money come from? You end up having to work two hours just to pay someone to clean your house for one hour!
It’s harder to save and pay off your debt than it is to spend your money. We are bombarded with advertisements that convince us we need this or that. Our neighbors have a new vehicle, so we need one to keep up with them. We keep spending our money because it’s easiest.
Most want to be rich someday, but we don’t want to put in the effort to get there. You cannot build wealth by spending all your money. It’s even hard to build wealth by saving 10%-15%, especially if you don’t start when you are 20. If you want to build wealth so that someday you can retire, and you don’t start until you are 50, it’s going to be very hard. It’s still possible, but it’s going to be harder than if you started in your 20s.
Other Areas of our Lives
Even when it comes to other areas of our lives, we do what’s easiest and not what’s best. To me, best (or at least better) would be to learn a skill that could better your job situation. Complaining about your boss on Monday morning is easier than shutting off the TV and learning a skill during the week.
Gaining weight is easier than exercising and eating better, but it’s a slow process when trying to lose weight, so we don’t do anything about it. Doing what is easiest isn’t the best for us.
Life will be Harder in the Future
Doing what is easiest now is going to come back to bite you when you are older! Whether it’s your health or your wealth, if you don’t put in some effort right now, when you are 50 and 60, you might wake up and realize that life is challenging. Maybe you won’t have enough to retire, or your health will not be the best. Some of this will be because of your decisions when you were in your 20s, 30s, and 40s.
If you think it’s too hard to save when you are 30, wait until you’re in your 50s with nothing saved for retirement. Get on a plan to become debt free so that you can start saving and build wealth. It’s not that hard when you gain some financial knowledge.