It’s safe to say that before you began reading this post, you had no idea you were blinking. Blink, blink, blink. Whatcha going to do about it now that you are aware of your fluttering eyelids? My guess is that your memory will last as long as a gnat, and you’ll forget as soon as you finish reading this post.
It’s amazing how we can blink roughly 36,000 times a day and not even be aware. Yet, if we were to be consciously aware of our need to blink, we’d probably drive ourselves mad. How great it is that our bodies protect ourselves from insanity by doing the things for us we have no desire of doing ourselves.
SUDDENLY YOU’LL WAKE UP
Our little habits create ourselves and we don’t even know it until we wake up one day and say “Holy shitake!” I did that once with my 401K after contributing the max every year for 10 years. Every month, roughly $1,300 was deducted from my paycheck for 120 months until it accumulated into a nice sum of money without even realizing it.
I have no idea what my returns are, since there was also 401K matching and profit sharing as well. For all I know, my 10 year real rate of return was zero since the stock market performed so badly. The funny thing is, I don’t really care because it’s all fake money anyway since I can’t tough it until 59.5 years old. The sum after 10 years is also much larger than $1,300 X 120 months because of all the matching and profit sharing so it’s hard to figure out. But, by doing something I’m supposed to be doing without even being aware, there it is, a nice sum of money that * might * be around when I retire.
The same thing goes for savings. If you regularly flush money out of your “go broke bank” and into your savings bank long enough, you’re also going to wake up one day and be astonished at what you’ve accumulated. You don’t have to manually transfer money each time your paycheck hits because everything is done automatically, just like blinking. If you get a nice lovely bonus end of year, you may have to click some transfer buttons, but it’s all part of the unconscious routine to wealth accumulation.
SO EASY ANYBODY CAN DO IT
Blinking comes naturally to most people. Most everyone does it without thinking. Savings is the exact same way. Only someone with a genetic defect can’t or won’t save money consistently without giving it a second thought. China’s gross domestic saving rate is roughly 45% of GDP and the Japanese save 30-40% of their income every year. So what in Hamburger Nation is wrong with the 330 million Americans with a sub 5% savings rate?
The answer is that the often quoted low savings rate in America is bogus because the way we calculate savings is outdated. I firmly do not believe that you and I are that weak to only save less than 5% of our income. Just ask yourself how much you are saving, and the answer is clearly more than 5%!
The best habits in the world are those you do without thinking. When you’re in an elevator, you let the ladies go out first and then ask for their phone numbers. When you’re subsequently on the date, you say nice things and pick up the check. When you meet a friend, you’re always 10 minutes early instead of 10 minutes late. When you’re part of a personal finance blog network, you work on building healthy relationships. When you have the privilege of getting a higher education, you take advantage and get good grades. So many good things are done unconsciously. Now all you have to do is remember to breathe.