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What is the single best thing you did to get where you are today?
Old 04-26-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
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What is the single best thing you did to get where you are today?

What is the best thing you ever did (or best habit you developed) that contributed the most to your financial success and financial independence? I am a young guy and I love to hear the background info to the success stories!
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:38 PM   #2
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The biggest thing I did was to decide when I was 20 years old that I never wanted to have children. I did not know it at the time, but it was huge in enabling me to retire in 2008 at the age of 45 and greatly improve my everyday life.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:45 PM   #3
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Best habit developed: Automatic payroll deduction for retirement savings. We never saw the money, never missed it, and didn't fuss very much with the investments (once per year tweaking). We increased the payroll deduction every time our pay went up (approx 1/2 of the increase went to the retirement savings).
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:48 PM   #4
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LBYM, followed by not having children (or at least waiting).
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:00 PM   #5
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I picked the right spouse! Someone that shares my beliefs in living LBYM's and also was a hard worker.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:04 PM   #6
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I picked the right spouse! Someone that shares my beliefs in living LBYM's and also was a hard worker.
+1
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:05 PM   #7
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Stayed alive.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:05 PM   #8
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Don't increase your spending as your salary increases! You can put the excess aside for the future, and meanwhile you will get used to living on very little.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:10 PM   #9
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Written budget and use cash for purchases when the money is gone you're done spending.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:14 PM   #10
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Don't increase your spending as your salary increases! You can put the excess aside for the future, and meanwhile you will get used to living on very little.
+1. Also I started reading and learning about finances and investing. I discovered it wasn't that complicated. Hard, but not complicated.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:15 PM   #11
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Made the decision very early to set goals and work very hard to achieve them. And it IS a decision one makes as nobody just falls into that work style.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:36 PM   #12
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I'll give three:

1. Live below my means -- don't buy stuff I can't afford

2. Pay myself first - that is, treat savings and investing like a bill that needs to get paid through my checkbook

3. Followed the rule to not invest in anything that I don't understand.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:42 PM   #13
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Hard to find the single best one...

Marry well, LBYM, pay yourself first, avoid lifestyle creep, keep investment costs low, know your spending, keep your eyes on the ball.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:56 PM   #14
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I quit trying to keep up with the Joneses.......
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:10 PM   #15
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Study hard in High School to get in one of the best university since it matters most in country of my birth, life is mostly on autopilot since then. I guess LBYM is true for most since even if you make a million a day, you can always spend that.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Cruisinthru View Post
I picked the right spouse! Someone that shares my beliefs in living LBYM's and also was a hard worker.
Same here - my wife's financial value system closely aligns with mine (LBYM, saver). This means we can reinforce positive behavior rather than battle or sabotage each other. Of course, sometimes that means we can end up going a little extreme LBYM, but we tend to self-correct pretty quickly. I know a few guys that are very LBYM, but seem to have a tough time saving for retirement - mostly because their spouses refuse to shut down the spending. Poor saps...
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by scrabbler1 View Post
The biggest thing I did was to decide when I was 20 years old that I never wanted to have children. I did not know it at the time, but it was huge in enabling me to retire in 2008 at the age of 45 and greatly improve my everyday life.
I didn't know not having children at the time would enable me to retire early either.

But I have to agree not having children made a big difference (at least in my life) as I as able to move to different locations for better paying jobs. I didn't have to worry about taking my children out of school, away from relatives and friends..etc.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:12 AM   #18
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Pay yourself first.
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Old 04-27-2010, 01:48 AM   #19
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Tough to choose between these three -

1) Dogs instead of kids

2) Selection of a career (programming) that was easy, low stress, well paid, easy to get a new job if necessary (at least from 1979-2006)

3) Always saved, learned how to invest it
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:31 AM   #20
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I started a monthly "net worth" spreadsheet with estimates of how much it needed to increase by on a monthly basis and projections of where I should be in future years based on those monthly increases.

If I found i was not meeting those monthly estimates, I would try to earn/save more to get back on track.

At some point I found that my investments took a life of their own. The momentum swings in the market where beyond my ability to make up major downturns. Conversely, on major upturns I would ask myself how many month/years of work it would have taken to generate even one of those daily upswings.
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