Most people have an inherent desire to increase their wealth. Why then do they not have a clear idea of what that means or a plan on how they will achieve it?
This is comparable to going to the grocery store without knowing what you want for dinner and not having a list. Most of us are guilty of having done that, and we all know the inevitable outcome: impulse purchases driven by want rather than need, spending more than we intended, and usually getting home without having everything we actually need to prepare for dinner. This inevitably leads to a second expensive trip to grab the last few missing items, as well as a few last-minute tasty treats we noticed near the cash register that we had forgotten to throw in our carts the first time around.
In a recent article, the National Geographic detailed the psychology of supermarkets. It shares that supermarkets are built to derail you from sticking to a good grocery shopping plan.
“The experience of dashing into the local Price Chopper, Safeway, or Piggly Wiggly for a quart of milk and emerging with a bulging cartload of unintended food purchases is universal—and it’s not our fault. Supermarkets make us do it. Or at least they certainly try.
Grocery shopping, start to finish, is a cunningly orchestrated process. Every feature of the store—from floor plan and shelf layout to lighting, music, and ladies in aprons offering free sausages on sticks—is designed to lure us in, keep us there, and seduce us into spending money.”
So how do we avoid the temptation traps? Here are 5 of the top strategies for successful grocery shopping:
- Plan out your meals ahead of time
- Have a budget
- Know what you have in your pantry
- Always go with a list
- Do not go when you are hungry
These grocery shopping strategies correspond very well into the world of wealth management.
Planning out your meals ahead of time is the equivalent to planning what your wealth will look like in the future. Know your wealth goals. Do you want to pay off your mortgage in 10, 15 or 20 years? Do you want to have a specific amount set aside for your children to be able to attend post secondary education? What amount of wealth for retirement will provide you with a comfortable life in retirement? Are you planning on leaving a legacy and if so, what portion of your wealth will be considered for your estate plan?
Having a budget is critical in ensuring that you can reach your wealth goals. Every wealth plan is fed by cash flow. Knowing how much you have to set aside for each goal and how much is left for lifestyle spending (aka trips to the grocery store), is imperative to ensuring that you are in control of building towards your wealth goals.
Know what you have in your pantry. To know if you are progressing towards the goals you have set out for yourself, you need to know where you are starting from. Keeping a progress report of your wealth situation and whether you are on track to meet your goals is important. It allows you to celebrate progress and make adjustments when circumstances derail you temporarily.
Always go with a list. Those who are most successful in building their wealth not only have a written plan of their longer-term goals, but also have an easily available mental or written idea of what they need to do in the shorter term (for example, monthly) to ensure they are moving forward on their wealth plan.
Don’t go when you are hungry is synonymous with avoid impulse purchasing. Just like the grocery store, our world is bombarded with triggers to take your wealth away from you. Wherever we spend our time, we are constantly invited to spend our money on material things and experiences. Ensuring the purchases fit your lifestyle budget is critical to ensuring that your wealth plan is not derailed.
Life is like that trip to the grocery store. Knowing what you want the result to be, having a plan and avoiding temptations will definitely help you to preserve and grow your wealth.
At Tall Oak Private Wealth, we look forward to continuing conversations with you as we help you in planning to grow your wealth.