Robert Kiyosaki filming in his Bentley

Why You Never Have Enough Time

Making time on your side by paying yourself first

There are many differences between the rich and the poor, but one of the more common ones I come across is that of mindset.

For instance, my poor dad always said, “I can’t afford that.” My rich dad said, “How can I afford that?”

My poor dad always said, “Money is the root of all evil.” My rich dad said, “Money is neutral. It’s what you do with it that’s evil or good.”

My poor dad said, “Get a good job so you can have security.” My rich dad said, “Being and employee is the least secure thing you can do.”

Pay yourself first

One important difference between my poor dad and rich dad was this: My poor dad said, “Save money for a rainy day.” My rich dad said, “Pay yourself first so you’ll never have a rainy day.”

For decades, I’ve followed the advice of my rich dad instead of my poor dad—especially when it comes to paying yourself first. As I wrote in a while back (“Why The Rich Don’t Save Money”):

“In order to be rich, you must have the self-discipline to pay yourself first. By this, I simply mean using your income to invest in cash-flowing assets before you pay your bills or buy anything fun. This in turn will create more income that you can use to invest in more, cash-flowing assets. Do that and you’ll have more money than you know what to do with.

Paying yourself first is not easy. In fact, it can be scary, especially when the bills are piling up. But you must develop the self-discipline to do it.

When we were young and trying to build our business, Kim and I did this to great effect. To help us stay accountable, we hired a bookkeeper named Betty. We instructed Betty that each month, she was to set aside a portion of our income to be used for investing.

Betty howled with protest each month when we did this because we didn’t have enough money left over to pay our bills. But each month we told her to keep it up. Instead of worrying about paying all our bills on time, Kim and I spent time renegotiating with creditors, pushing a payment down the road here and there. To us, paying ourselves first was the most important thing, even if Betty and others thought we were crazy.

Kim and I used the money we paid ourselves first to invest both in our business and in cash-flowing assets. It’s because of this discipline that we are financially free today.

Paying yourself with more than money

This week, I came across a great short article in The Guardian that opened my mind to other ways to pay yourself first. Columnist Oliver Burkeman shares an insight he got from reading an article by “the cartoonist and creativity coach Jessica Abel”. Brakeman’s insight had to do with the principle of paying yourself first as it applies to time:

“If there’s something you’re passionate about – from writing your novel to launching a business to spending more time with your kids – the only way to make it happen is to do a bit of it now, no matter how many urgent tasks are pressing in. “If you don’t save a bit of your time for you, now, out of every week,” Abel writes, “there is no moment in the future when you’ll magically be done with everything and have loads of free time.”

When it comes to business and investing, this concept is as vital as paying yourself first with money. Abel’s shares a matrix from author Stephen Covey on how we use our time in four ways:

In fact, the vast majority of people I talk with who have a hard time getting started with their dreams of starting a business or investing in assets do not have a money problem. Instead, they have a time problem. That is, they spend most of their time on busy tasks, their careers, and doing fun activities. Most people spend little-to-no time on “self-generated creative work.”

Why is this?

It’s not that people don’t have good intentions to do what they are dreaming of. It’s that they always think they’ll have more time than they really do. With money, if you pay everyone else first rather than yourself, you’ll have nothing left to actually invest. The same it true with time.

Time is on your side

The Rolling Stones famously sang, “Time is on my side.”

Yes, it is.

One difference in mindset between the poor and the rich is that the rich always seem to find time. It’s been my experience that they do not have time because they have money, but rather they have money because when they were poor they found the time to invest in themselves and their dreams. The rich recognize that they own their time. The poor let others take their time.

The fundamental shift you need to make today if you want to accomplish your dreams of investing or starting a business is to understand that you, and no one else, has claim on your time. Start paying yourself first with it.

Block time and distraction

One simple and practical way to do this is simply to block the time off on your calendar. I know one friend who spends time on Sunday nights to block his calendar off for projects he wants to work on during the coming week. He treats those times on his calendar as sacred, often finding a place to execute on the work he planned in solitude so as not to get distracted or interrupted.

We live in a world that is always trying to steal our attention. In fact, attention has become one of the most precious commodities in the information economy. So, my friend also often turns off his phone, web browser, and email, to accomplish his work and tasks. And you’ll rarely see him on Facebook.

By taking these simple actions, most people can create the time and attention they need to work towards accomplishing investing and business goals, even while working full-time. All it takes is truly believing your time is your own and no one else—and doing something about it.

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