Financial resilience – Disposable income

In the last blogs we saw how debt inflates our needs for bigger purchases and traps us into situations that are undesirable like tolerating bad work culture, poor working conditions etc. Next step in achieving resilience is to avoid the marketing traps especially the ones that call your money “Disposable”.

A lot of people get into buying properties on loan because they would spend the money on luxuries when they see a big withdraw-able balance and it is growing month on month. People prefer being locked into long hefty repayments to prevent the temptation to dispose off the money, so they will end up with a housing loan with hefty repayments. The reason for this mindset is, any money left over after taxes and essentials (rent, medical, food, utilities, child care etc) is called disposable. Forcing us to prime it such a way to spend.

If we ask someone what will they do if they have million dollars, a vast majority of people will give ideas on how to spend a million dollars like buying an exotic car, expensive jewelleries etc which may bring joy momentarily but also drag the wealth down by many notches. While we need to spend on joy to remain sane, how much of it is required is the question we need to answer. By default we humans are hedonistic, we will keep wanting more and more of the same thing or something bigger than what we want. So we will end up disposing what we have in hand without thinking twice.

Unless we think about the cash in hand as a capital than disposable money, we would not have the mindset to invest large sums of money across different asset classes which makes us resilient. Replace the term ‘disposable income’ with ‘discretionary income’ that is waiting for its business owner to be invested. You will realise ways to budget spends for joy and standard of living, yet set money aside for investments. Best piece of advise I got from a friend was to create two other bank accounts apart from the salary account. One is to keep 3-4 months of expenditures for emergency usage and another one to fund SIPs, equities and loans. The moment salary arrives, the account is left only with budgeted money for essentials, living standards and joy and the rest goes to investments. In other words, the disposable income becomes limited. This helps in not succumbing to temptation to spend until zero or buy a huge property with hefty repayments so that we will not spend it away.


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