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August 30, 2012


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Thanks for this reminder. I agree with what you write that "discipline is the key characteristic to building wealth."

Recently I read "Working With the Law" by Raymond Holliwell. In that book he states discipline as one of the fundamental laws of success that people often put aside.

Of course, he doesn't mean the "punishment" type of discipline. He means the constant, persistent, and as you quote, conscientious effort to achieve our goals.

Do you have a link to Thomas Stanley's blog? I think I should subscribe to him also in my reader.


The recent book "The Longevity Project" found that they could predict who would live the longest based on who was rated as conscientious by their elementary school teachers.
It seems there's definitely a link between conscientiousness, health and wealth.

Deny --

I meant to include a link to it in the post, but I forgot. Anyway, I have added it now, just above the quote.

I have remained disciplined so far and it is reassuring to read these articles. Sometimes it is tempting to slack off but I know better than that so I can keep my future bright!

I just had a discipline check yesterday. My wife and I both drive 10 year old cars. I really don't care and she goes along with it but has wanted a new car.

We are in the process of refinancing our house. I knew I would need to bring cash to the table to keep our LTV at 80%. (Note I cashed out equity up to 80% a few years ago to pay off two rental property mortgages for tax reasons.)

Yesterday my wife's car needed repairs and she had a "car meltdown". That was it, she wanted a new car now. Thankfully our 'gap' is large enough that we can save up quickly for a new car in cash. We have three options: Cancel the refi and buy car with cash, continue with refi and take out car loan, or continue with refi and push out car purchase for 6 months.

The details of my situation aren't really the point. My point is that your discipline is going to be challenged no matter what you think are your principles. I said that taking out a car loan was simply not an option. Even if we plan to pay back within a year, it goes against our approach of buying things AFTER we can pay for them. My wife knows how much money we'll save on the refi so she doesn't want to cancel that for getting a new car sooner.

Emotions are still running high in my house but I think we have passed the discipline test this time.

Although difficult to achieve, discipline is needed at all times and in every choice and action in order to build not just wealth like you've described, but character too. I think you're right that all those money actions you mentioned are dependent on discipline.

Discipline is essential, but how about the two most important rules for building wealth.

............... 1) Understand the power of compounding.

............... 2) Don't lose money. A 50% loss requires a 100% gain just to get even again.

The words "Long Term" are widely used but rarely understood. The term must vary from person to person and be a function of their age, financial situation, and proximity to retirement.

For those, like myself, that have been retired for 20 years, "Long Term" is meaningless. The older you get, the more risk averse you MUST become.

I think another good part of learning discipline is that after a while it becomes a habit.

There are many things I don't even think about anymore that could attest to this. Things that I don't even really miss or need.

When I go to restaurants now, asking for water over a $2.50 tea or Coke used to be a thought process, but now choosing water is automatic.

Great article, would just add that there is a danger in focusing exclusively on discipline is that one may be disciplined for the wrong things. Instead, a solid "mechanical" foundation is needed on the ideas for building wealth first. Then a plan should be created to further those goals. Finally one must use discipline to see that the plan is carried out.

As a young person reading this, I will take this advice and do my best to live by it. Discipline is the hardest thing to abide by in every area of life. That's why so many people are overweight, lazy, unemployed or poor. Discipline is the key to being successful and prosperous in all areas of your life, but its easier said than done. Weighing the wants vs. needs will definitely be where I will think long and hard about financial decisions.

I am one of those "young people" you mentioned and I hope you are right. It does seem that patience and hard work are very important to succeeding in life but luck appears to play a part as well. So far I've been getting pretty lucky, but you never no, streaks can end :)

Discipline is tough, especially when you have no role models to follow. Find one role model who is living a disciplined life, and it becomes easier to live that way.

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