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Can You Believe How Fast Time Goes?

It’s been two months since last I posted something here. A variety of factors have contributed to my lack of words — back office change for JPFP, looking for a new CFP®, busy with client work, etc. Writing here is something I like to do and it doesn’t take that much effort, so why have I not been writing? One word: habit. I fell out of the habit of writing every Tuesday and before I know it, it’s been two months since last I put words here.

It’s the same with any behavior, including those around money. If we get into the habit of doing X, like saving money or setting goals and reviewing them, then it’s easier to keep doing them. On the other hand, if we get out of a habit, it’s easy to continue not doing something as well. The coach and writer James Clear  has a terrific ebook on the subject that you can download off his website. He makes two points about habit:

  1. The reason to for a habit must be strong; that is the “why” must be enough to get you started and keep you going; and
  2. There must be a trigger for the haibt; that is, there must be an event or stimulus that triggers the habit.

For example, if I write every Tuesday, then Tuesday morning is the trigger. If I always brush my teeth after a meal, then eating is the trigger. Same thing with money. If I put aside 15% of every bonus, then when the check comes that is outside my normal pay, that is the trigger. Of course, you must follow-through and not ignore the trigger as I have been doing the last eight or nine Tuesdays.

Anyway, think about the money habits you want to start and pick one. Attach a trigger to it and then see if you can respond to that trigger for a certain length of time. If you can follow this trigger and response approach, you have a new money habit. How about that.

Until next time,

Steve Juetten, CFP®