Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was thinking about an old friend and our very different circumstances today. Then it struck me. Over the past thirty years, Chris and I endured some unpleasant financial times in our effort to accomplish larger goals. On the other hand, my friend – knowingly or unknowingly - gave up some things he might have enjoyed today in order to avoid sacrifice along the way. The irony is how little these two paths differed, and, yet, how much they magnify financial results.

Small things produce large results. It’s the cumulative value of modest amounts over long periods. I heard an industry colleague profess that one pizza a week equates into $250,000 by retirement! From a lifestyle perspective, trading cars every three years isn’t a whole lot different than trading every two years. But the cumulative value of that change equals tens of thousands of dollars over several decades.

The same thing can be said for restaurant dining or rounds of golf or an extra thirty minutes of work each day. How much difference can any of these make in our quality of life? Cut back one pizza a week or skip the foursome on the fifth Saturday each month when it rolls around. Start work at 7:30 instead of 8:00 and see how much more productive (time is money) you can be.

Obviously, none of these little things are earth-shattering in and of themselves. Still, the differences they make are worthy of note. A few sacrifices today can make a huge difference later on!

- By Dan Danford, MBA, CRSP® at Family Investment Center
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