As we continue our series exploring challenges to building wealth, we need to introduce the concept of velocity of money. In personal finance, the velocity of money refers to using your funds to build wealth more quickly by getting your money to do more than one thing at a time.
This is a well-kept secret of the financial industry and one that can transform your relationship to your personal finance.
How Can I Use My Money Now?
Accepting the status quo is not going to help grow your money and efficiently organize your personal finances. You’ve got to ask yourself “how can I use my money now to make things better down the line?”
Much of our culture and advertising is devoted to making you chase the “next great thing,” the next bit of instant-gratification, and that next hit of dopamine. While pervasive, it’s not a sustainable model for your life.
Choosing to embrace the following behaviors now while delaying those small bits of gratification will make your future life much more enjoyable:
- Pay down debts
- Build an emergency fund
- Invest in your future
- Invest in yourself
- Save for retirement
Those choices may not offer the immediate reward promised by so much of our flawed, impulsive human nature and the marketing campaigns designed to take advantage of it. But in the long run, those small changes now will have a big impact on your life.
The Magic of Compounding
The reason why your choices today have a magnified impact on the future is because of two things: Lost Opportunity Cost and Compounding.
A dollar invested today has the opportunity to compound over and over through the years, building its overall value. You shouldn’t underestimate the awesome power of compound interest; If you’ve ever struggled with high interest credit card debt, you know how the momentum of compounding can build.
Turning this principle into a positive is why we stress the idea of “time in the market” rather than “timing the market.” Building your wealth is a process, and compounding can work for you if you consistently make intelligent choices over time.
When to Refinance Loans
If you’ve taken out loans, you’ve likely received countless direct mail advertisements for refinancing programs. While these seem like a great way to lower your payments, you must be cautious when evaluating them. Many come with early repayment penalties and fine print rules that heavily favor the program and lender rather than you.
If you have a loan you’re looking to refinance- such as your mortgage- look first for ways to remove your private mortgage insurance (PMI) after you’ve built 20% equity or more in the home. You can also look into ways to change your repayment term so that you can pay loans off sooner and save yourself thousands of dollars in interest. Any time a loan term can be updated in your favor it’s worth exploring new options. Just be sure to evaluate the entirety of your new solution and not just the face value of the monthly payment.
Make Your Money Work Harder
The real way to build wealth and increase the velocity of your money?
You have to be as demanding of your money as you are of yourself.
Are your investment and savings strategies underperforming? Update them. Is accelerating interest of outstanding debts hurting your overall quality of life? Rebalance your strategy to pay off debts sooner or explore refinancing options to ease some of the burden. Personal finance is complex, but solving issues can be as simple as acknowledging a problem exists and then finding a workable solution to that problem. We’ll discuss visibility and organization in our final post in this series, but know this: accepting lackluster performance will lead to a stressful and lackluster financial life.
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