Wealth Building is a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Get rich quick schemes abound. They sound great don’t they?

I invested $10,000 in XYZ company and now they’re worth $2 million!!!

They trigger our greed glands and even better, we don’t have to work for it. Think about the latest billion dollar US Powerball Jackpot that saw record numbers of people shell out their hard earned money for a hope and a dream.

Unfortunately for the vast majority, the reality of making money can be a lot slower than we would like it to be. How many millionaires do you know who made their fortunes instantly? Maybe the odd one or two whose savvy investor parents left them with a substantial inheritance, but not many. Popularised in the media, we hear of a few great business people who ‘made it’ on a stroke of luck. We seldom hear of the years of study, research and work well into the wee hours that occurred behind the scenes.

Everyone needs to start somewhere. A house is built one brick at a time. A child learns to read by first learning the alphabet. A person seeking to lose weight does so kilo by kilo. Why would the road to wealth be any different?

That may be a downer for some to read, but an alternate view is that a house is a prized possession because it takes such a long time to build. Reading is celebrated because it is an incredible skill that takes a young child years to develop. A person who is overweight astounds everyone by shedding kilos and reaching their goal weight through hard effort and dedication. Working towards your wealth creation is no different and it is something to be celebrated every step of the way.

This post is about creating a habit that will dramatically reshape your financial future.

I would like to suggest one little, tiny change that you could make to your everyday circumstances that would have a huge long term effect on where you are in the future.

Allocate 5% of your income per week towards your retirement fund.

I can hear some already saying that there is no way they could possibly contribute 5%. Others might be saying that it is not enough.


In Australia, the average income for 2015 was $1,545.60 per week or $80,371.20 per annum.[i]

Let’s take a look at what 5% would look like over the course of a working lifetime.

I’m sticking with the average wage as a basis, but it would be fair to assume that it would be less when you commence your career and slightly more as you gain seniority in your profession. 5% equates to $4,018.56 per year or just $77.28 per week.

If you saved $4,018.56 per year from the age of 20 until the age of 65 you would have $180,835.20. This is a good start to have towards your retirement, but would you just keep that amount of money in an account bearing no interest? Unlikely. Most of us have some form of superannuation or a 401K retirement fund encouraged by our government and our work places. These tend to be invested in global markets, local markets and in cash.

In fact the Australian share market has returned 10.8% on average over the past 30 years.[ii] The beauty of this is that by leaving your money in that account, making regular contributions, receiving positive (and occasionally negative) returns that compound over time, this money drastically grows from your deposited amount.

I’ve written about this previously in a previous post but compound interest really is, as Albert Einstein said, the eighth wonder of the world. It is a way to grow wealth slowly and it should be in everyone’s plan for wealth generation. Those $77 you deposit, directly from your paycheck into your retirement fund, compound and compound and compound over time. Incredibly, at retirement age you are left with a whopping $4,125,880!

Use ASICs Money Calculator tool to try it out for yourself.[iii]

Screenshot 2016-01-18 20.28.34

I’ve included a screenshot to show you what happens over time. Notice how your investment really begins to pick up momentum in the final years. Bear in mind, however, that the final figure does not take into account management fees, taxation or inflation.

$77 dollars per week may seem unattainable for some but consider getting all your insurance and utilities requoted, maybe only eat out once this month or perhaps give Aldi or Costco a go? A suggestion would be to not focus on that $77 as a punitive measure, but to focus on the cool $4.1 mill that is gained at the conclusion of your working career. Think of how much better you’ll sleep each night knowing that you are financially secure.

I know we all have a tendency to gravitate towards a get rich quick scheme but there is something truly beautiful about having worked and saved for your financial future. The marathon is the most well regarded of all endurance races for a reason. Every marathon needs a beginning. Start today and save towards your financial future.


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[i] Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015). Average Weekly Earnings. Retrieved January 18, 2016 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6302.0/

[ii] Source: Fidelity Worldwide Investment (2015). 30 Years in Australian and Global Shares. Retrieved September 18, 2015, from  http://www.fidelity.com.au/fidelityP2/?LinkServID=B91D14A6-B125-E8DC-BB83AAD60C35BC5A

[iii] Australian Securities and Investment Commission (2015). Compound Interest Calculator. Retrieved September 18, 2015, from https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-apps/compound-interest-calculator

Posted on January 18, 2016 in Saving and Investments, Smart Money Blogs

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About the Author

I LOVE budgeting! Why you ask? Having a clearly defined budget enables my family of six to live an empowered life. I work as part time teacher, I'm an investor, novice longboarder, man of faith and run Budget Brilliance with a view towards seeing people's lives changed financially.

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