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Fiscal Discipline: It Is About Perspective

August 3rd, 2014 at 02:11 pm

Fiscal discipline is all about perspective and behavior. More specifically, it is about the difference between the perspective of an adult and that of a child. And about the very different behaviors that come from those perspectives. Acceptance of the reality of personal responsibility and effort versus the unfounded longing for financial windfalls that require neither. Long-term thinking versus short-term thinking. Planned goal setting versus vague wishing. Holding out for long-term satisfaction versus giving in to instant gratification.

And all those factors are connected. Either as steps in a ladder taking you up or as dominoes in a row pushing you off a cliff. How does a person standing at that cliff edge step back and get on the ladder?

Fiscal discipline starts with assuming responsibility for one's financial destiny. So that person must resolve to take control.

Fiscal discipline is about looking ahead. So that person must begin to look to tomorrow because tomorrow is coming.

Fiscal discipline has to have a purpose. A goal. A heavy-duty carrot. So that person must think things through and set financial goals.

It is those goals / carrots that will facilitate fiscal discipline. Goals will help to keep that person on course.

Fiscal grownups choose meaningful long-term satisfaction over transitory instant gratification. So that person must keep eyes and mind focused on the more valuable goals ahead.

The takeaway: Fiscal discipline doesn't just happen. To make it happen, a person must put out the effort and do the thinking to make crucially important informed adult choices.

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