The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons, Napoleon Hill’s 1,600+ page monstrosity published prior to Think and Grow Rich, contains a lot of useful information that can help you realise your potential. In this series, Joshua Moore covers each of these attributes in a practical way that you can apply to your life and work. Today he discusses Lesson Four: The habit of saving.
Also in this series:
Do you save a portion of your income?
If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are that you manage your money well. However, when cashflow is tight, entrepreneurs can quickly find themselves dipping into their dwindling savings account.
The habit of saving is the fourth law of success. Savings are created simply when you spend less than you earn. Of course, it sounds a lot easier than it really is. In a world where the objective is to get the newest car, better clothes, faster gadgets and a big house, you can quickly find yourself on a downward spiral where you are spending more than you earn.
I know of a personal friend who started saving a few years ago. He has managed to hack his expenses to a point where in a few years he has saved $100,000 cash and has no debt. He still has a few years until he is thirty, too. The odd thing is that it all started a few years ago with a few dollars. The momentum has allowed him to build up a nice little wad of cash that he is now planning to invest.
Savings acts as a safety buffer. First, it provides the opportunity to have an emergency reserve in the event that income ceases. Secondly, they provide the ability to have funds to allocate to investment and a prosperous future.
Lastly, saving develops several positive character traits, including:
- Self control. The ability to say no to purchases that are not essential and the ability to not dip into your savings account, which is slowly building.
- Sacrifice. In order to save, one has to go without buying something. Being able to make the necessary sacrifices is necessary for character building.
- Discipline. The ability to regularly save a portion of your income is a trait that can flow into other areas of your life.
- Persistence. Still trying to achieve your desired level of saving? It takes time. Persisting with it is a key to ensuring your success.
- Motivation. Without the motivation to save, results will quickly wane… or may never even begin.
- Capital. Those with savings have capital available to invest in businesses and other forms of potential investment.
Many people have mentioned the importance of saving ten percent of your income. John Burley (author of Australia’s Money Secrets of the Rich), Steve McKnight (author of From 0 to 130 properties in 3.5 years) and George S. Clason (author of The Richest Man in Babylon) all suggest saving ten percent of your income as a minimum. Burley and McKnight also suggest contributing ten percent to paying off the principle on debt as well as ten percent going to charity.
Interestingly, however, Napoleon Hill suggests savings 20 percent of your income. My reasoning for this is that it is the ideal for someone who has no debt and is able to contribute that amount to savings. Burley and McKnight both recommend that once debt has been eliminated, the ten percent allocated to debt reduction be contributed to savings and investment.
Do you save on a regular basis? It can begin with as little as ten dollars a week. At the end of two years you would have over $1,000 saved, which is a great start for an emergency fund. Start with whatever you can and gradually build up to a point where you are ideally saving 20 percent of your earnings.
- Start saving today. Begin with whatever you can.
- Set up automatic deductions from your regular pay check (if you have one).
- Ideally, use an online account that is harder to withdraw from (reducing the temptation to break the bank).
- Manage your spending and gradually increase your savings until you are able to save 20 percent of your income.
Joshua Moore is the founder of Moore Thought, a website dedicated to helping people tap their mind and reach their potential in life.