Are you settling?
The biggest cost that anyone ever pays financially comes from settling. Learning to tolerate small things will ultimately rob you of great returns throughout your life.
While the areas in which we often find ourselves tolerating less than ideal circumstances are numerous, there are a few that stand out as clear robbery of your financial health.
Big Banks have long held the top spot for where we are told to store our money. Unfortunately for us consumers, those marketing messages aren’t cheap. And, neither are sports arenas.
To pay for all the extras that big banks are involved in, a common strategy is to leverage account fees on just about every product sold.
While the fees themselves seem small, there are two things to consider.
Just like the recipe for success is the right small things, stacked over time. The recipe for disaster is the opposite. The wrong things (even small in size), stacked over time will lead to financial ruin.
The second consideration is the precedent set when accepting a small fee because it’s “not that much”. That is only the first step, and the question then becomes where to draw the line?
It is far better to not take that first step, and avoid bank fees altogether. There are a few ways to do this, all of which I have done myself.
Open an Account with a Credit Union
Credit Unions operate much the same as banks, largely the same offerings, but without the overhead. While this means you won’t see your favorite sports team being sponsored by a credit union, you also won’t encounter the account fees needed to pay for such extravagance.
Open an E-Account
Another option is to look at e-banking options. These institutions have surged into popularity due to their low-cost offerings. That includes no pesky account fees.
Ask for the Fees to be Removed
Another option, and one especially important for those who won’t take on the hassle of changing financial institutions is simply to ask for the fees to be removed. I currently have accounts with a couple of the big banks, for various financial reasons. At both those banks, I simply asked for my fees to be waived, and they were! Now it’s your turn - take a look at your bank. Are you paying fees? Try asking for those fees to be waived. If not, maybe it is time to look at other alternatives.
While bank fees cost you a few thousand dollars, they lie at the top of a slippery slope. The next area where many people simply tolerate what is offered lies in investment fees. The difference between low fees and standard fees might not sound like much.
After-all, the difference between 0.5% and 2% is a paltry 1.5%.
But that 1.5% makes all the difference in the world.
Take a $50,000 investment in the general market, returning 7% annually, for 30 years. After those 30 years, the account charging 0.5% in fees has: $330,700.
But what about the account with 2% fees?
That account only has $216,100.
That paltry 1.5% difference in fees just cost over 100 thousand dollars. And that’s simply considering the sum of $50,000. If you consider this impact on your life’s retirement savings, that number could be many times multiplied.
How much are you paying in investment fees? Are you tolerating the levels of fees that will result in financial hardship later in life?
The third, and most costly area that we end up tolerating our lot in life lies in our careers. Far too many people don’t take the time to consider what economic value they are bringing to the world.
Failing to understand the valuable contributions that you make will ultimately lead you to undervalue your work. This is perhaps the most prevalent example of “settling”, as people tolerate the job they have without asking the hard questions.
In a 2018 Gallup survey on worker engagement, the all-time high record was set. 34% of American workers are engaged at work.
That means 66% of workers are not fully engaged. For that majority, the question, “are you paid what you’re worth?” is even more important. If engagement isn’t there, people aren’t working to fulfill an inner drive. For those 66% of people, it is more important than ever to understand their economic value.
To understand what it is that you do to create economic value, you need to think about the value-add tasks of your role. How much revenue does that bring in? Or how many costs are you saving?
As an employee, some of the earnings or savings are a direct result of your actions. That should give you an indication of whether you are paid enough. Other considerations are; how much would it cost to replace you?
Being paid for what your worth could mean the difference of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars over your career. In the pursuit of financial freedom, every choice, good or bad, plays a role.
In all areas of our lives, we are asked to tolerate situations because “that’s the way things are done.” That could mean accepting fees that aren’t justified, or even accepting pay that’s too low. The decision to settle in any of these situations is costly though. From thousands to hundreds of thousands, the cost of tolerance is a high price to pay.
Where are you going to say, “enough!”? What areas of your life have you merely tolerated for too long? It is time to take a stand, your future just might depend on it.