Wealth Virtues by James Ward explains how wealth can be easily acquired by anyone using the practice of Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues to repetitively complete the Cycle of Positive Wealth©.
The Thirteen Virtues are Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility. The definitions assigned to them by Franklin are here at WealthVirtues.com.
The Cycle of Positive Wealth was created by James Ward to explain a positive cyclic flow of money habits to attain wealth. The seven elements that make up this cycle are Wisdom, Intelligence, Planning, Action, Investing, Inflow, and Credit, feeding again back into Wisdom.
Cycles in life and nature are a part of our collective human history. People have found purpose in cyclic events and actions, so the way we think about the flow of wealth and money can have a positive cyclic nature as well. Maintaining the flow of the cycle through the practice of the Thirteen Virtues will allow you to eliminate debt and increase your wealth.
The following actions are “no-brainer” actions you can take right away to increase your cash flow. Some are obvious and others may take some time to complete. I present them from easiest to hardest to accomplish. They are essentially actions that you would create in the Planning portion of the Cycle of Positive Wealth, and execute in the Action portion of the cycle, however, nothing is stopping you from taking a look to see what you can do right now.
I wanted to put debt elimination as a numbered item. However, the methods mentioned below can help with that goal. Debt elimination should be an underlying priority, and you should have a goal of never carrying a balance on your credit card past 30 days.
1. Do not buy anything on impulse (Temperance)
Do you really need the candy or gossip paper at the checkout counter? Can you pay for the high-definition television with cash? Buying on impulse also removes your ability to shop around for the best price. Many impulse purchases may also lead to “buyer’s remorse” as you later see that you did not really need the purchased item. Even if you see something on sale for 20 percent off, just remember that the retail markup can be anywhere from 50 to 1000 percent – so are you really saving a lot for something you don’t actually need?
2. Eliminate the Unnecessary and Unused (Frugality, Moderation)
Because there are so many channels on basic service from your cable, satellite, or fiber optic television provider, you need to question whether the money for the extra channels you pay for, but rarely watch, is really worth the cost. Are you really using the gym membership, or will running in the morning and using a borrowed set of free weights get you better results?
3. Pack Your Lunch & Eat Out Less (Frugality, Moderation)
Taking a few fruits and vegetables as well as a sandwich to work to graze on throughout the day is both healthier as less expensive. The bulk cost (including bringing your own tap water in a bottle) for a week is probably less than a $10 lunch purchase. If you are one to take the family out a few times a week for pizza or other meals, you are probably wasting a lot of money. Cook more meals at home and learn to brew your own coffee and you will see an instant savings.
4. Stop Paying ATM Fees (Resolution, Frugality)
Try using you own bank’s ATM, or become a member of a bank that reimburses ATM fees from other financial institutions (usually with a minimum balance). Even easier, most stores will provide you money with no fees when you make a purchase using your debt card and withdrawal additional funds as cash-back.
5. Get a Library Card and Other Free Things (Frugality)
Most libraries now offer free movie and music checkout along with the obvious books. Sometimes communities offer free movie nights in parks or community centers.
6. Stop Giving Free Loans to the Government (Order, Industry, Frugality)
If you have been getting large tax refunds, you may have considered yourself lucky, but all you did was give the government a loan with your money. Work with your employer to update your W-4 to decrease your amount withheld for taxes, and use that money for number 7.
7. Maximize Your Tax Deferred Account Contributions (Order, Resolution)
Maximize (or at least increase) the amount of money you contribute to your tax deferred retirement accounts (401K or IRA). Contributing more lowers the amount of income that the government will tax so after doing this, you may need to go back and repeat number 6 again.
8. Buy Used Instead of New (Frugality, Resolution, Moderation)
This is particularly true for automobiles, especially with many dealers offering low mileage vehicles with warrantees. Consider the same principle for tools like lawn mowers. Many people will sell a broken lawn mower that only needs about $50 in repair costs. This is much better than buying a new one for $250. My wife bought one of those large plastic children’s playhouses that normally sell for $200 for only $5 at a community yard sale. Our children used it for over eight years before we resold it for $10 (A 100 percent profit!).
9. Remove all unhealthy addictions in your life (Cleanliness, Chastity, Resolution, Justice)
Smoking is the first thing that comes to mind. The average smoker can save at least $2,000 per year by eliminating cigarette purchases. That person can use this savings toward a contribution to an IRA, and they can decrease future medical costs as the ex-smoker’s health improves. Portion controlling meals helps save in food costs not to mention the increased health benefits of maintaining a healthy weight. Get help if you have problems with alcohol. Work to eliminate addictions to gambling. You have significantly better odds with the stock market than you do at blackjack or slot machines. If you do play, play for fun with a limit on your total wagers.
10. If you carry extra weight, lose it! (Temperance, Resolution, Moderation)
As mentioned in number 9, use portion control with foods. Exercise to include a regimen of weight training and cardiovascular exercise. The costs of treating diabetes and other weight related problems can destroy your savings and affect your insurance costs. The benefit along with the cost savings is a phenomenal increase in your confidence level. If you are able to control something as difficult as your body weight and muscle tone, all other actions you undertake will be easy in comparison.