Why You Should Pay Yourself First

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Wealth building comes in different forms and through consistent work.  There are steps you can take to put yourself on the path to building wealth early in life without a lot of money.   One way is by building up your cash reserves aka your savings.  There are additional wealth building opportunities that you need to participate in, such as, increasing your streams of income and investing but we are going to focus on building up your savings first so you will have the money to invest in those opportunities when you are ready.

One way you can build up your savings is by paying yourself first (depending on your spiritual beliefs this will be after tithe but before bills). Every time you receive money, not just paychecks, include birthday money, bonus, tax refund, etc.,  you should put a percentage of it in your "pay myself first" account aka your savings.  What percentage?  It depends on your situation.  I prefer 10% but I am well aware that everyone can't start off at 10% and if that is your case then start at a smaller percentage or a flat rate. You won't believe how fast $5 or $10 adds up, if you are consistently saving.   Especially if you put it in an account that is not easy access. As your income increases, increase your savings amount.

I save money several different ways, one way is by having $25 direct deposited into my money market account at another bank. I never pay attention to the account unless I am investing in an opportunity or helping someone in need.  I am always shocked by the balance in the account because it's just $25 every two weeks but it adds up quickly. 

Here are a few ways my "pay myself first" account has help me build wealth:

  • I used a portion and invested in peer to peer lending (after the account was at an amount I was comfortable with).

  • Made an investment by contributing funds to a project were in addition to receiving my investment back, I also received a percentage of sales plus interest. The funds I made went back into the my "pay myself first" account.

  • I also used some of the funds to invest in my own business and I am currently looking into additional stream of income which will require an investment.

What can you do with your "pay myself first" account?

  • Save! Of course the first option is save, but once you save 3-6 months of living expenses, you can start using a percentage of the funds for other activities while still saving.

  • Pay debt. If you have debt, you should use a part (not all) of the funds as a contribution to your financial independence. The less money you pay to other companies (making them richer) the more money is available for you to use toward wealth building activities.

  • Invest in wealth building activities. There are so many options here that I am not even going to try to list them all, but here are a few: Peer-to-peer lending, your own business, real estate, investments, etc.

  • Helping others. Contribute to a cause or to help a someone in need. This is not a wealth building activity but you are blessed when you give. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are givers and they were giving to others before they became wealthy.

Paying yourself first is one of the easiest things you can do at any income level to contribute to your overall financial wealth.  If you start early, you'll get use to living off less which is habit you want to develop now because it's not how much you make, it's how much you keep. 

There is a difference between making a lot of money and being wealthy.  There are high income earners who are not wealthy because they are spending all or more than they make, which is a recipe for disaster if their income suddenly disappears. Even though they may look like they have their life together they are just one paycheck from broke.  

Do you pay yourself first?  If so, how it has it benefited you?  If not, what's keeping you from starting?