Small Changes Have Large Effects Over Time

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Small Changes - Large Effects Over Time

It is not easy to make changes. People often assume that to be rich they need to inherit piles of cash or do something drastic to save enormous amounts of money. It is true that you need savings to build wealth, but you do not need a sudden windfall.

Drastic one-time actions that happen without actual behavior changes may not help you much. It is better to take a few drastic actions toward saving than to not save at all, but small-scale daily choices will push you in one direction or another over time.

Small changes are both easy and difficult. Making a small change is easy, because it’s something small, like saving $10 a week. $10 sounds pretty manageable, right? The difficult part is that you have to continue making that same choice because the habit is what builds wealth.

One of the easiest ways to implement changes is to automate the process. If you save money by having an amount electronically moved from your checking account to a savings or brokerage account right after you get paid, you will not notice it the loss in spending money. If you have to manually move money from your checking account to your savings account, especially at the end of the month, you may not save as much because you might already have spent the money you now intend to save.

For a complete list of ways to automate your savings and simplify your life, while prioritizing saving over spending, see our article here. However, change can be stressful and you might not be prepared to make all these changes at once.

I recommend taking these steps one at a time and not implementing the next change until you have adjusted to the one you just made. Even if you only start with one and stick with it, next year you will have been saving for a year! Making just a few of these changes now will help your future self.

The picture above is of a swimmer. A swimmer takes one stroke at a time, but continuing with many small strokes, she makes great progress. Each stroke sets her trajectory toward her goal. If she starts off-track at the beginning of her swim, it can drastically affect where she ends up. The good news is that course corrections are always possible.

Small amounts invested add up over the long term. It is easy to put things off, but acting on one small change at a time can make all the difference when it comes to reaching your goals.

Thinking about saving millions toward retirement can sound too large to be achieved, but if you instead decide to make one change in the right direction today, it will bring you more than just one step closer to your goals.

Photo used under Creative Commons Zero license.

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Wealth Manager

Austin Fey is a Wealth Manager at Marotta Wealth Management, specializing in charitable giving and asset allocations. She is a regular contributor to our Marotta On Money articles, often giving advice to those just getting started in finance.

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