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The Benefit of Discomfort

The Benefit of Discomfort

October 02, 2019

Most things in life that are worth it come with some discomfort.

I think about this idea a lot. Maybe because I turned 40 last April or maybe it is just my path in life that led me to this conclusion, but I believe it is absolutely true. You hear variations of this idea in business and from motivational types all the time. Quotes like:

  • “Success lies just outside your comfort zone.”
  • “It’s going to be hard, but hard doesn’t mean impossible.”
  • “Adversity reveals genius; prosperity stifles it.”
  • “Great things never come from comfort zones.”

Chances are, wherever you go for motivation, you will find some derivative of the above which can be applied to a multitude of life's quests.

  • Getting in shape
  • Starting a family
  • Advancing your career
  • Marriage
  • Playing a sport
  • Getting a puppy
  • Travel (not to be confused with “vacation”)
  • Furthering your education
  • Starting a business

The list goes on and on...but the same rule applies. If you want to accomplish something, it is going to require some discomfort, so you better get used to it, and personal finance is no different.

With that said, October is Financial Planning Awareness month, and I’d like to challenge you to become uncomfortable with your finances... but in a good way.

One of the common themes we preach at Ashford Advisors is the importance of cash flow management. Simply put, you must save the right amount if you want to have a chance at financial independence. Simple, but not easy. And it is not easy because saving/managing cash flow is uncomfortable for many people because it puts pressure on spending and lifestyle.

There are two ways stress is put on cash flow:

1) Bad Stress—Not having enough income

2) Good Stress—Saving money

Either way, it is stress, and I am not sure the brain always knows the difference. Because either way, you can feel like lifestyle is being impacted. And that can be difficult to overcome and feel like adversity.

Life can be messy, and sometimes bad stress on our cash flow exists for one reason or another. Job loss, court battle, divorce, recession, etc...and saving the right amount is not in the cards. However, for many of y’all reading this, “Bad Stress” is not the issue, the fear of “Good Stress” is.

So, my challenge for those that have a healthy income is to take on the adversity of saving this month and into the foreseeable future. Maybe give up a little lifestyle, get outside of your comfort zone, stress your cash flow in a good way, and take some chips off the table. I’m not 65 or 70 years old, but I work with a lot of people who are. And those that are strolling into the distribution phase with confidence, and not desperation, took on the adversity of saving and stressed their cash flow in a good way at some point and now it is paying off. They took on a little pain and eventually embraced it for the good of their future self and their families.

Most things in life that are worth it will create some discomfort. We know this at Ashford and have sat down collectively with thousands of families and business owners over our 120 years of existence. We know what works and what doesn’t, so if you're ready to tackle what is left of your accumulation phase with intentionality and are willing to embrace some discomfort, lets chat.

- Edward Inman