Financial Discipline places you in a better position
You need Financial Discipline to be the best version of yourself. Period. If it is not properly addressed through financial education and good judgment, the consequence of a poor financial outlook goes beyond financial matters.
Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs vs Financial Discipline
Maslow’s pyramid of needs clearly points it out: it is important to cover physiological and safety needs, to successfully meet belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs.
Do you have a High Burn Rate? Do you have limited Savings? Do you have a poor and shaky Income Stream?
Indeed, if you have poor financial discipline and habits, you will be familiar with the following 6 scenarios:
1. You will live in fear, and you will have more stress and worse health
2. You will focus your energy on surviving instead of growing, investing and thriving
3. You will say NO to amazing business or life-changing opportunities, only because they require taking some level of investment and risks that you cannot afford right now
4. You won’t be able to help others as much as you would like
5. You will have less leverage in business and financial negotiations (you miss the F.U. Money). You will then accept a sub-par proposal that doesn’t meet your standard or expectations, just because you need the money.
6. You will find excuses for NOT doing the right thing
What Thomas Jefferson and George Washington can teach us about Financial Discipline
While all the above-mentioned 6 scenarios are worth commenting on, today I dive into the 6th scenario: lack of financial discipline facilitates excuses and/or cases for NOT doing the right thing.
I report an analogy shared by Author Ryan Holiday on how Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were not able to walk the talk about slavery in the same way.
Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both profited from slavery, but both knew it was wrong. Yet at the end of their lives, it was Washington who freed his slaves, not Jefferson, who had written far more eloquently about human equality as well as the eternal shame of slavery.
Why was that? It’s because Washington, far more disciplined and Stoic, could afford to manumit his slaves. Early on he hadn’t been able to afford to run Mt. Vernon without them. But he was secure enough at the end to do what he obviously should have done and what his conscience knew he should have done years earlier. Jefferson, the Epicurean, was more than $100,000 in debt when he died. He ransacked Europe for antiques and finery.
He had expanded Monticello multiple times, sparing no expense. He loved wine and the best foods. Now, he could not remotely afford redemption. He was scared of leaving nothing to his children. He could not afford to do the right thing.
Discipline, as a virtue, is related to the other virtues. By controlling our urges or wants or lifestyle, we’re actually in a better position to be courageous or just. Financial security, and independence, these things free us up in ways that other more irresponsible or conflicted people cannot be.
Financial Discipline and Moral Compass
Personally, I don’t buy the analogy of Ryan Holiday. I like to think you can always afford to do the right thing. Viktor Frankl made it clear:
“What is the difference between people that are able to pick themselves up and those who are not? the decisive factor is the decision: the freedom of choice. I would like to become this way or another in spite of the conditions. I wish to act as a responsible being, in accord with heredity and environment, but also if need be, in spite of the worst conditions”.
However, I totally agree that achieving financial security and independence through financial discipline increases the chances of being able of doing the right thing, or at least reducing the economic excuses for not doing it. After all, I strongly recall this quote from Neil Gaiman:
“It has been said that civilization is twenty-four hours and two meals away from barbarism.”
Build and protect your moral compass, while keeping a healthy financial discipline. Keep it Real. Sweat Your Assets!
Have you enjoyed this article #133? Don’t miss other Financial Wisdom. Sign-up for my monthly newsletter