Money Management

Chasing a salary does not lead to wealth

By  Taylor Boucher

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Income is the amount indicated on your paycheck, that you use to establish a kind of lifestyle. While wealth is the length of time, you can sustain that lifestyle, without income.

The rat race

I started my career at eighteen, part-time in a technical call center. Not glamorous and I was not well paid. But it was a start, and with only fast food experience having just graduated high school, I felt lucky to have it.

You best believe I took full advantage of the opportunity. Within six months, I was hired full-time and promoted to supervisor soon after. The experience of being recognized for my hard work was memorable, but the salary bump was better.

Income became my primary driver. Get to the next promotion to achieve the next pay bump. And with that driver, I averaged one promotion per year. It was great, each time I could afford more of everything I wanted.

But after a while, my taste grew exponentially faster than I could achieve success. Chasing a salary became a rat race.

A path toward wealth

I look back on the first ten years of my career and realize, I didn’t get anywhere at all. I had no savings, no retirement fund, and no real assets. The truth was, a respectable salary was not the ticket to wealth.

What needed to change? My budget. My budget (or lack of one) reflected a reckless, live-for-the-moment myopic human being. I needed a long-term strategy, a path toward wealth.

It started with a basic savings goal. At first, I wasn’t entirely bought-in, so I set a small achievable one. It should have been easy, but given my lack of commitment, it took longer than it should have.

Eventually, I had a taste of wealth. I’m not embarrassed by the fact that the wealth I achieved at the time, was a minuscule amount. It didn’t matter, it was a paradigm shift.

Income as a tool

Income was a requirement for the process of building wealth, but my past experiences proved, that income alone, achieves nothing.

With this paradigm shift, I was no longer living myopically, I was slowly establishing a sustainable lifestyle. At first, I could sustain a week without income, then a month, then a year.

Eventually, I was able to start thinking about my retirement goals, how I wanted to live, where, and when. Now, income is my tool for achieving wealth, not the achievement itself.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.

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