This month we have been featuring our Movember millionaire – the anonymous writer who goes by the pseudo name “Mr Money Mustache.
Mr Money Mustache lives by a few simple rules but his blog features the simplest concept of getting extremely rich despite how much you are earning. We have touched on the idea of financial freedom and building money generating machines to ensure your passive income keeps growing. It sounds easy when you put it that way, but to newcomers and those who have not read about financial freedom there are many roadblocks. First is the issue of basic financial knowledge itself. Most of your neighbors believe that borrowing money for cars and kitchen renovations is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, a 5-10% savings rate is admirable, and credit cards are a way to borrow money when life’s little expenses temporarily outpace their salaries. With assumptions like these, wealth will always prove unattainable.
While having a strong financial knowledge and blueprint is absolutely essential when talking about getting rich on an average income you do need to have a lower than average spending mindset. Let’s take a look at an extract from Mr Money Mustaches blog:
To get rich on an average income, you need to have lower-than-average spending. This will mean doing less pointless driving around in your car. But you’ve become very comfortable with habitual car trips. It will mean making fewer visits to restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. But that has become a pleasant and comfortable habit too. Booze, drugs, cigarettes, TV watching, video game playing, procrastination, unhealthy eating, sedentary living, convenience and comfort-seeking and unnecessary shopping are other habits that are widespread in US society. And most of these stand between the average person and a truly wealthy life as well.
For the two years of this blog’s lifetime, I have been trying to attack these habits from a variety of angles in order to create more happy, wealthy people. Beneath my usual drill-sergeant routine and threats of face-punching, I have laid out logical and numerical justifications for some of the changes, and issued emotional calls to action in other ones. Sometimes the articles work, and sometimes they don’t. So what is it that makes a good change-creating piece of advice?
Recently, some important heavy iron plates of missing knowledge have been clunking into place in my mind, due to a string of really interesting practical psychology books I have read in recent months. Blink, Nudge, The Tipping Point, 59 Seconds, Switch, and most recently The Power of Habit, which is a great book.
As simple as it sounds, the missing piece has been the concept of habits, and how ridiculously important they are to the human life – every human life.
Why is this relevant? Because as smart and fancy as we all are, our mind is subject to the same auto-pilot “chunking” of behavior. Starting the shower, arranging your towels and clothes, and going through the full routine of washing and drying yourself is probably one good example of something you do automatically. Reversing a car out of your driveway or driving or biking very familiar route that you’ve done hundreds of times is another. Coffee drinkers (myself included) are certainly familiar with the process of habit formation. And smokers can be some of the modern world’s most dedicated creatures of habit.
So if habits are so automatic, biological and hard to break, how do we do it? Distilling all the books and the science down to a tiny list, the answer seems to be this:
Habits are like little loops. They start with a trigger, which sets off your automatic behavior. They end at a reward, which is the little pleasant occurrence that reinforces your habit.
For a standard consumer/car driver, the habit might look like this:
For a Mustachian, you can see the habit loop is different:
This difference is vividly illustrated right on my own street, where my neighbors each make several short car trips around our tiny city each day, and my wife and I make a smaller number by bike. Neither group is expending effort to make its choices – cars are just a habit for them, and bike transportation is ours. But if either of us tried to change our habits, that is where the effort would come in.
So the above looks simple in principal? In simple terms: cut down on habits that are both unnecessary but even worse if done regularly can become very expensive. But the above article refers to effort? We are all in luck this is easier than it looks and there has been a huge amount of research done on how to make habit change easier.
Here are 5 easy points on how to get this done:
1: Find the trigger point of your habit:
2: Take the same cue, but trick yourself into triggering a different behavior:
3: Try to make the new reward similar to the old one:
4: Get your foot in the door – with Keystone Habits:
Some habits shake things up so much that they automatically trigger other changes. I believe that embracing Bike Transportation is one of these things, as explained in “What Do You Mean, You Don’t Have a Bike!?“. It eliminates spur-of-the-moment shopping, sedentary living, and weather wussiness all in one stroke. To make the change even easier, I once suggested starting by using bikes for just one initial purpose: getting your groceries. This has a keystone effect because you already live close to a grocery store, and you always need groceries at least once a week. By forbidding yourself from taking the car out for this errand, you automatically start to build a biking habit.
5: Reinforce habits with belief and community: a very simple example is why alcoholic’s anonymous actually works. You don’t have to do it alone you can start a group to cut down on spending.
Some food for thought? Mr Money Mustache has a very simple philosophy that can empower even the most average salary earner to start making some proper money.
An extract from the Young Millionaires Bible
Original concept and intellectual property belong to mrmoneymustache.com – this article has been adapted to the readers of youngmillionairesbible.com