‘Pay yourself first’...remember that phrase? An oldie and a goodie! It’s one of the first one-sentence messages that I recall from my 20+ year career as a traditional Investment Advisor and Insurance Agent. Funny though, I haven’t heard the expression being used much over the past several years, not even by myself…until recently that is.
When was the last time your Financial Advisor counseled you to ‘pay yourself first’? Perhaps paying your bills or paying off debt took precedence? And to those Financial Advisors and Planners–when was the last time you gave that advice? And to those that do pay themselves first and give that advice, my next question is—WHY? Why is ‘paying yourself first’ a sound and advisable practice?
When I was raised in the financial industry, I was taught that the reason why you paid yourself first was so that you would have some means of savings. Whether it be an emergency fund, to pay for your children’s college education, or to provide for retirement. However the reason was labeled, it was always about accumulating a pile of cash—it was always about the money. Or was it?
Well, in my personal and professional opinion, no-it wasn’t all about the money. It’s just that we weren’t ever aware that they could be more to it. ‘Paying yourself first’ means significantly more that we were ever told—and money? Money just happens to be the energy directing us towards the real reason. I know that for most, it feels as though money is the cause for frustration, impatience, and anxiety. And I understand that while most people desire to pay themselves first, they feel they can’t. That there are other issues or circumstances taking priority. A bit of a “catch 22” dynamic.
If you find yourself feeling stuck or in a “catch 22”, you’re not alone. Know this, money isn’t the real issue here…money is a symbolic representation of what is occurring on a deeper level. For example, when we put all other expenses first (utility and credit card bills, daycare, healthcare, etc), and we don’t pay ourselves first, what are we saying about how we feel about ourselves? “I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough…” Aren’t you more important than your bills? If we wait around for money to show up so we can do something we want to do–like take a class or hire a coach, the money will never show up. We have to take the first step–and paying yourself first is the grandest statement you can make about you! It’s an expression of self-love. It needn’t be a large amount, $5- $10/week or whatever you can manage will suffice. Remember, it’s not about the money…it’s about the message you are sending to yourself. Just make sure that YOU are at the top of your list of payees!
Try this…go through your expenses with a fine tooth comb. Eliminate and cut back on everything you possibly can. Get to bare essentials. You will experience feelings of guilt I’m sure. You may feel that you are taking things away from your family, etc. Forgive and release. You will be pleasantly surprised at how freeing it is when you realize how much money you are leaking (we all do!)…and the amount of cash flow you can free up. Then pay yourself first!
And I promise this…it won’t be the extra money you have stashed aside that will make you feel empowered. It will be the fact that you put yourself FIRST.
So why do you pay yourself first?
In the wise words of LOREAL…“Because I’m worth it!”