Imagine you are the manager of some sort of business. An employee, Jacques, comes up to you and presents a fantastic idea. You see the potential for making the workplace a better, more efficient place, and jump on board. After all, you’re a good, supportive employer, and can spot a good idea mile away.
The timeline for this new project is set for three months.
A month later, you hear from another employee that Jacques is late with a report. This is odd, because Jacques is usually very organized and prompt. You email him, and he quickly apologizes and sends over the completed report.
In the second month, Jacques has failed to follow up with a couple of clients like expected, meaning the business loses their sales. You see him in the hall and he looks dejected. This isn’t like him.
In the third month, Jacques is back to form. But when it comes time to follow up about his project he tells you he’ll need more time. Worse, even though Jacques is hitting his other responsibilities, he now looks like this:
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
This kind of story is more common than you might think. It comes from a really simple oversight: If you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another.
In the management world, this tip is essential for guaranteeing execution of a new project or idea. A good manager knows that their employees are already working at their most efficient level, giving their 100%. But what happens if you suddenly add something else on top of all of that?
How would you feel if someone added a new project onto your plate, even if it’s something you’re passionate about?
Nothing can actually sustain 110% effort indefinitely. That’s how things, and people, burn out.
A great management tip is that whenever going over a new project with someone, address this issue head on by asking “By saying yes to this, what will you have to say no to?”
What does this have to do with money?
The same idea can be applied to finances: By saying yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else.
If you want to put money towards stocks, you’re saying no to real estate and bonds.
If you’re spending money on someone’s birthday present, you’re saying no to saving for retirement.
Let me be clear: My point is not that you shouldn’t buy birthday presents. My point is that we all make these choices whether we think about them or not.
And more often than not, we don’t think about them at all.
The reason why is neurological. Back in the day, whenever we’d buy something, we’d have to hand over cash or coins. And we’d feel the money leaving our hands. Our wallets would feel lighter and thinner. And by being able to feel that change, our brains registered the transaction on a very deliberate level.
But today, we’ve taken that feeling out of our purchases. Imagine all the ways we can pay now: Clicking a button on our computer or phone, swiping or inserting a card into a reader, or even simply tapping a card or our phone to a receiver. None of these motions trigger our brains in the same way.
We literally don’t know that we’re spending money.
How does this play out in our financial life?
When we don’t make a deliberate choice for our purchases, our actions and our goals can end up becoming misaligned.
Often one of the first things that people realize when they work with a financial planner is that they don’t actually know where all their money is going. Looking at the numbers for their income and expenses, they should be much further ahead than they actually are.
In these cases, they have been actively saying “No” to their goals through their actions without even knowing it.
In these cases, we work with clients to bring a deeper level of awareness to what they’re saying “Yes” to through actions, even if they haven’t been conscious of it.
The end result is not people feeling deprived, but people feeling fulfilled. Suddenly, they’re aware that they can build towards their goals AND they become more aware of the positive experience their purchases give them.
Make it a choice
Remember, whenever you say “Yes” to something, you’re saying “No” to something else.
Do you know everything you’ve said “Yes” to in the past?
Do you know everything you’ve said “No” to?
If you’re not completely sure, you’re not alone. That’s just a sign of our times!
Click here to sign up for a FREE Bronze Account. A fiduciary advisor will reach out to you to discuss strategies that will help you make sure you’re saying YES to the things that really matter to you!