Is sacrifice necessary for financial success?

Is sacrifice necessary for financial success?

On the road to success is sacrifice necessary

Do you want to be financially stable, financially free or just frickin’ loaded? I think most people would say yes to at least one of those.

To become one of those, and particularly to become financially free or loaded, is going to take hard work and perseverance. A very small number of people will wake up with winning lottery numbers that change their lives forever. Most of us are going to have to work at it, and for a long time at that.

One day, in 5, 10, 20 or maybe 30 years, you could wake up and financial freedom could be a reality. But only when you’ve put in the work in the preceding years. I know it sucks and I’d love to be able to lean across the metaphorical table and whisper that I have a secret but I’m afraid I don’t. And if I did, I’d probably charge for it.

I’ve read articles that say you can get where you want to be but that you have to make sacrifices. And I’ve read that you can get where you want to be without needing to make sacrifices. So which is it? Well, kind of both…

I thought a definition would be helpful here for the verb ‘to sacrifice’.

  1. offer or kill as a religious sacrifice.
  2. give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations.

The good news is I’m reasonably certain you won’t need to slaughter any goats to achieve your goals, so certainly in that sense of the word, no sacrifices necessary.

Will you need to give up something you value though? At first, yes. Only at first? Let me explain.

3 years ago, we sacrificed bi-weekly takeaways for the greater good of the holiday of a lifetime. We sacrificed the time and convenience that came with a takeaway for it’s monetary value to be used for something of greater importance. It was a difficult adjustment to make.

Fast forward three years, and takeaways are a rare treat nowadays. Why are we still making the sacrifice? Well to be honest, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. We can both cook tastier and healthier meals than we used to be able to. On our rare indulgences, we enjoy them more than we ever used to.

What else are we doing to achieve our financial goals? Driving second hand cars of course! How much of a sacrifice is that? It’s never been a sacrifice- we never had a brand new motor to give up.

When you’re accustomed to a certain standard or lifestyle, pairing back always takes some adjustment. There is a feeling of sacrifice, even if it fades with time. If you never experience something, you don’t miss it. They say it’s better than to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. But I don’t think that’s true where cars are concerned. It’s less catchy, but I think it’s better to have bought reliable second hand cars than to have lost a great chunk of value driving off a forecourt.

If you have consumer debt, that is, debt that doesn’t arise from a mortgage or student loan, for example, changing your position is going to mean sacrifice.

It’s going to mean giving up something that, up to now, you’ve valued.

Without a doubt, financial success will come easier to some than others. Some will have greater earning power, some greater self control, some fewer responsibilities vying for their attention. Some will live in areas of the country (/world) where house prices are extortionate. Some will receive regular handouts or huge inheritances. These things are all true, whether we like it or not.

There are no guaranteed quick wins. There are no magic beans that sprout beanstalks, from whence we might procure bars of gold.

If you really do want to achieve wealth, whatever that means to you, you’re going to have to work hard for it. You won’t achieve a perfect 10. You might even fall off the beam a few times.

Today is a day when you can do something about your situation. Tomorrow is the second day. And so it continues. A sacrifice today becomes normal tomorrow (not literally, but you know what I mean.)

I’ve been diligently planning my finances for 7 years. When I look ahead to my goals, they seem monumental. Sometimes they seem too big, but then I have learned and changed much in the last 7 years. Am I ready to do the same for the next 7 years? I don’t know, but I’m ready to do the same thing tomorrow and I know I’ll feel that way for the next 7 years. So I guess the answer is yes.

The truth, whether we like it or not, is that success and wealth will take a lot of hard work for the majority of us. I’m putting in the hard work because I believe it will be worth it. Do you?

7 thoughts on “Is sacrifice necessary for financial success?

  1. Do you think it is still a sacrifice if you are giving up something you never had. Like you want a new Jeep Grand Cherokee but you buy a used Toyota 4Runner. Assuming you always buy used cars it seems like a hypothetical sacrifice at best. Do you think it is a real sacrifice if you don’t feel a sense of loss when you give it up? If you get up early to run, and it isn’t hard getting up because you like to run, is that really a sacrifice? Seems like it had to sting for it to be a sacrifice, vs just a smart choice?

    1. Hi Steveark, In most cases I’d say you can’t give something up if you didn’t have it to start with, so wouldn’t consider it a sacrifice. So I don’t feel like I’ve made a sacrifice by driving used cars, as lovely as a brand new aston martin might be. It depends how strong your desire is for something, I agree you could sacrifice one aspiration in order to achieve another. Perhaps a better example would be pay monthly TV. I’ve you’ve never had sky, virgin media, netflix, etc, continuing to not have it isn’t a sacrifice. You don’t know what difference the extra channels would make.

      Making a change that you want to make and isn’t hard would never register as a sacrifice to me. I know that there are things I do that I don’t consider a sacrifice (the used car thing being one, tbh) that a lot of people I know would. To me, it’s the smart choice ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. That’s nicely said. I’m slightly addicted to financial and early retirement blogs now that I’m financially independent and early retired myself. So when I say you really write well I’m basing that on a lot of experience reading the work of your fellow bloggers. You are clear, readable and entertaining. Good luck on your financial journey TH!

    1. Thank you, that’s so nice to hear/ read- you’ve made this bloggers day!

      You have already walked the walk, hopefully I’m following in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think like you said, at first it stings a bit but later you just get used to it. The thing I’ve found is that the smaller a change is, the easier it is to cope with it – which makes sense obviously.

    Like for us, I’m trying to convince the soon-to-be-wife (eek less than 10 days!!) to get rid of our cable TV subscription, but she’s got a weird obsession with shows that we can’t get over the air.

    I’m going to try some alternatives that will still let her watch her shows and try that in tandem with having cable TV. May be more expensive for a month but if it works then we can cancel our cable TV altogether and save a ton of money. ๐Ÿ™‚ Any way to make those transitions easier is a win in my book, and over the long term it’s not really seen as a sacrifice anymore!

    1. It’s definitely more difficult to let something go and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some good shows out there at the moment! If you don’t already have it, you can try Amazon prime for 30 days for free. We’ve recently upgraded from freesat (no cost except the receiving box) to prime and find it excellent value with some good shows too.

      Congratulations on your impending nuptials ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I also think you write really well and like your analogies. I too have scoured many blogs over the last few months for ideas and motivation on my journey to paying off a total of ยฃ13,000 consumer debt in 18 months, whilst, with (now) husband, cash flowing a wedding in 2017.

    Last Friday I became consumer debt free after paying off final credit card with a balance that had been hanging around for too long at 0% interest.

    The sacrifices have been well worth the joy of knowing I am consumer debt free. In fact, I set the alarm to wake at midnight to transfer money from my current account to my credit card upon my salary arriving in my current account just after midnight.

    Next is to cash flow a trip to US to see my son and his girlfriend in the autumn this year and then overpay mortgages on 2 rentals with a goal of paying them both off by mid 2021. I signed up to 10 year mortgages in 2015, then after a 2 year fixed deal ended last year cut them to a 5 year fix on 6 year term. They will be paid off after 6 years in total so that I can draw an income and we can retire in another rental we own near the North Norfolk coast.

    There is nothing like a goal and every sacrifice whether itโ€™s giving up a couple of bottles of wine per week or just not spending on things that arenโ€™t needed or only eating out once per month on a budget of ยฃ25, or giving up Sky Sports, provides welcome satisfaction as I see the balances decrease and look forward to the day I will be completely debt free at the age of 58.

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