What stops you from being financially free?


What stops you from being financially free?

Published Date: 2019-07-03 | Source: INCE|Community | Author: Warren Ingram

What stops you from being financially free?

Are you the reason that you won't be financially free one day? Carry on reading to find out, and I hope you don't recognise yourself in this story.

I recently spent time with the founder of a financial services business and he told me that some of his staff make themselves poor. This founder thinks about his people and takes time to mentor some of them, even going so far as to help them do personal budgets so I asked him to explain his rather controversial statement. He told me that the number of people working for the business has been increasing very quickly in the past few months and they had no more staff parking bays. The only available parking the business could find was at a shopping mall which is 650m away from the office. Recognising that parking is a sensitive issue, the company offered volunteers R6,000 per year as an inconvenience fee to park at the mall. Staff would not have to pay for the parking and the offices are in a reasonably safe area so there would be minimal inconvenience to those who chose the mall parking. In the communication to staff, the company made it clear that this was only on offer to the first 7 people who volunteered as there was concern that all 60 staff might take it.

I was shocked to learn that only 4 people took up the offer.

The staff who drive to the office, earn salaries ranging from R10,000 to R40,000 per month. What really stunned me was that none of the staff who are in financial difficulty took up the offer. The people in financial difficulty are not the lowest or highest paid in the company. The founder asked some of the financially constrained people why they were not taking up the offer and was given the following explanations; "what happens when it rains?", "I have to collect my husband and can't make him wait", "I like my current parking bay". I must point out that this company is based in Johannesburg not New Zealand. This is important to note as rain or snow are not significant factors in this decision. I'm also sure that anyone can wait an extra few minutes every day to earn R6,000 per year.

My main conclusion from these excuses is that people are often the biggest cause of their own troubles. In this instance, it must be a sense of misplaced pride. Somehow, they see it as embarrassing to earn R1.40 per minute to get some exercise. I won't even talk about the health benefits of the extra walking!

The four staff who jumped at the chance to earn an extra R6,000 per year were very different from their colleagues. Their salaries ranged from the low end to the high end in the company, none of them have required financial assistance from the company before and all of them were grateful for the chance to earn some additional money. They saw this as an opportunity rather than a sacrifice and jumped at the chance.

It is too simplistic to predict that the four who took up the offer of extra money will be financially free one day, but I will bet that the ones in financial difficulty who did not take up the offer will not achieve financial freedom. We cannot discount the impact of luck on our finances, sometimes bad luck can derail our plans. However, luck is not the only factor to consider, our behaviour and attitude to money are very important factors. If we give ourselves excuses on a constant basis as to why we don't maintain financial discipline, or we find silly reasons not to put in some extra effort to make more money, we only have ourselves to blame. I have spent more than 20 years working with people who have achieved financial freedom. I cannot recall any of them making excuses or blaming bad luck for their troubles. They planned for bad luck and made sure that they were able to recover from setbacks and they always took advantage of a good offer.

Warren Ingram is a Wealth Manager at Galileo Capital. www.galileocapital.co.za @warreningram

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