Your investments: Omer and building wealth

Use this seven-week period to get on track financially so that you can have a secure financial future.

Money (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
We have started counting the 49 days of the Omer, the culmination of which is Shavuot, when the Jewish people receive the Torah on Mt. Sinai.
Why do we count the Omer? One answer is given by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort. He writes, “We also learn that this period is meant to spiritually prepare and refine ourselves. When the Jewish people were in Egypt nearly 3,400 years ago, they had assimilated many of the immoral ways of the Egyptian people...
At the last possible moment, the children of Israel were miraculously redeemed. They underwent a spiritual rebirth and quickly ascended to the holiest collective state they had ever reached.
They were so holy, in fact, that they were compared to angels when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah. It was during that 49-day period that they underwent such a radical transformation. From the lowest lows to the highest heights in just seven weeks!” Sounds like a new age diet! Your wealth So what does this have to do with investing and personal finance you ask? It’s a glaring reminder that building wealth is a process, just like spiritual growth. You can’t expect to invest today and become a multi-millionaire tomorrow, just like you can’t perfect character traits overnight.
In today’s remote control society people may think that they can close their eyes, sing some songs while jumping up and down and instantly become on a level reserved for angels, but this is a fleeting spirituality. In order to really elevate ourselves we need to work to be better people on a daily basis. Then seven weeks down the road we can look back and see just how far we’ve come.
The same holds true with building wealth. You need to start becoming responsible financially. No more delaying. Live within your means and start saving money. It’s not an easy process but if you want to have a secure financial future you have no choice. The lottery will not bring financial salvation.
There is nothing more antithetical to financial success than having lots of debt. Instead of plowing money into savings, tremendous amounts of money and energy are used keeping lots of balls in the air, to make sure that no interest payment is missed to avoid default and bankruptcy.
I have worked with so many individuals who literally spend 3-4 hours a day running around to get loans to pay off previous loans. Obviously if you don’t have the money to pay off the initial loan, you won’t have money to pay off successive loans, and it becomes like a black hole. You just get sucked in, and it becomes more and more difficult to escape.
Live within your means Start keeping track of all income and expenses. Once you know how much is coming in, you can create a budget to ensure that you live responsibly and don’t go into overdraft.
Don’t spend more than you bring in. If that means not eating out as much, or getting rid of your satellite TV, so be it. The first line item in your budget should be “pay yourself first.” Take 10-20% of your income and plow it into savings.
If good financial habits are reinforced, they are much more likely to become habitual and you can avoid the pitfalls of financial mismanagement that plague so much of society.
People delay long-term saving because they don’t really understand investing, they are struggling to become established on a career track and because they want to live for today.
Unfortunately the dirty little secret is that delaying retirement investing is a mistake.
There is a lot of data in the US that workers in their 50s have only managed to save $50,000 for retirement. That’s not going to get them very far once they stop working.
Use this seven-week period not just to refine your character and to ready yourself for receiving of the Torah. Use this time to get on track financially so that you can have a secure financial future.
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., or its affiliates.
Aaron Katsman is a licensed financial professional in Israel and the United States who helps people with US investment accounts. He is the author of the book Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.