I got a lot of positive response when I posted my method for purchasing a new car, which is long on legwork but short on actually spending money. I was really happy that a lot of people seemed to benefit from that, mostly because I had to figure out that process on my own through a lot of trial and error.
The same thing held true about saving money and planning for retirement. The same thing held true for buying a new house. I get a lot of joy in helping people with the stuff because I am passionate about learning about it.
One MASSIVE thing that I don’t understand though, is how some people can’t seem to be bothered with learning about this stuff. The excuse they use is that they “have too much on their plate” or they “don’t have time” or they “are too lazy to do all that work”.
It makes me wonder…. do these people really know what lazy means? Because I am lazy. I am the King of lazy. I am also very, very serious about being as lazy as possible. I want to get through this life with as much time devoted to play, leisure, and fun with the ones I love as I can, and minimize as much as humanly possible the drudgery of work I don’t enjoy. Living on the planet we occupy, however, means that hard work is not optional if you want to enjoy the fun stuff, or even NOT experience the bad stuff.
So how can you be as lazy as possible? By being smart about being lazy. By being lazy ON PURPOSE.
For example, I know a gentlemen in his late 40s who most would consider to be a VERY hard worker. He wakes up early every day for his job, even on the weekends where he works a second job. He is constantly stressed and overworked. He is constantly tired.
One day we started talking about retirement savings and he told me proudly that he had been putting away $20 per week since we was 35 years old. He has amassed a sum of about $40,000 so far. He told me he wanted to retire at 62. He had chosen a fund family almost 15 years ago and hadn’t looked at his retirement plan since.
Now in general, not looking at your retirement plan all the time or trying to time the market is a good thing, but once a year at least is a good idea. And God bless him, he at least was putting SOMETHING away, which is more that I could say for many of the other people I knew. I asked him how much he wanted to live on when he retired, and he shared that he would be comfortable with about $65k a year.
I showed him, using one of the many free online retirement planning calculators online, that at his current pace he was on track to retire at 70, 8 years after his planned retirement date, with about a nest egg of about $357,000. Using the 4% rule, he would have an income of about $14,280 a year, or $1190 per month, not counting social security payments (if they still exist).
He was shocked. I asked why he waited till his late 40s to look at this stuff, and he replied that he just never got around to it.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”Lewis CarrollLet’s think about that a second. Every day, for decades, you wake up early and bust your butt, even on the weekends, working like a maniac and sacrificing time with your family, time doing hobbies, time for relaxing and playing, only to get to the end of your life and realize that because you “never got around” to planning where you were going, you had nothing to show for all that hard work.
That SUCKS. Screw that. I am way too lazy to live that way.
The same principle applies to buying a car. Sure, showing up at the stealership and letting them set you up on a 6 year financing plan is convenient. You could probably get it done in an afternoon. But is that worth the THOUSANDS of dollars you won’t save by doing some work yourself?
Let’s say you decide it IS worth it. How many hours will it take you of WORKING to get back those thousands of dollars? Which way took more work, and which way was the lazy way?
Let’s think about it.
- Is it less work to study hard in school, or work at McDonald’s your whole life?
- Is it less work to exercise and eat healthy now, or to spend tons of money in your hold age on drugs and surgery trying to prolong your life?
- Is it less work to buy what you want on financing, or wait and save up the money?
- Is it less work to devote time to making your marriage better, or to deal with it ending?
- Is it less work to stay up every night, helping your child with their homework and teaching them character and hard work when they are young, or to let them live in your basement when they are 30?
- Is it less work to properly maintain your car and house, or to try to fix them only when they fall apart?
This is a really simple life principle that I am shocked more people don’t get, and as a result, they spend a lot more time and effort than they need to for a LOT less reward.
After I told my friend that he needed to be putting about $250 per week away at his age to reach his goal, his eyes glazed over and he said numbly “I can’t afford that.”
He can’t afford that. His house was worth about $350,000 at the time and was about 3000+ sq ft for 3 people. His wife drive a new Lexus.
He is going to be working really hard for a long time.
Not too long ago, my wife teased me about my “Robot Army” project. I got some refurb Roomba’s about a year and a half ago, souped them up, created a system of virtual walls throughout the house, and set them on a time schedule every other day at noon to vacuum the entire place. This project took me an entire weekend (about 5 hours on each day, 10 hours total). I had a blast doing it.
Roomba’s don’t replace vacuuming entirely, but they do reduce the about you have to vacuum a LOT. Let’s say one of us spends 30 minutes, once a week, vacuuming the house. There are 52 weeks in a year, and its been about 78 weeks since that project. If the Roomba project saved us having to vacuum 80% of the time, that means it’s already saved us 31.2 hours worth of work. That’s more than a 300% investment on the original time spent.
Laziness in action.
So think about it. Put some thought into making sure you are putting the first thing first. Life is hard enough as it is, and with a little forethought and ambition, you can reduce the overall stress level of your life and expand more time for doing the things you love, now and in the future. In the investment world, they call it “cost-benefit analysis”. Is the cost of what you are doing to avoid work netting you MORE work in the long run, or LESS work?
Because if you’re like me, laziness is the way to go.