If you are a two income family, always save and invest the smaller income. Of course you will have to implement the first two behaviors into your stream of consciousness, but getting to the place where you can bank the entire net income from a spouse's income (or, in the case of a single person, the net income from a second job), you will increase your potential for a successful retirement plan immensely. If you only earn one income, do not create a second income with credit. Secure a second job, if possible, as this will allow you to restrict the use of credit as a second income. The key to focus on is to always try to put something away in savings. My wife and I were able to develop this behavior before she left the work force entirely. It totally changed the financial landscape. We lived on my paycheck for several years and banked her entire net income. Always combining finances, living below our means, and saving and investing my wife's paycheck has allowed us to improve our retirement planning beyond our wildest imagination.
Reality being what it is, you might have to build up to the point where you can develop this behavior. If you currently cannot make this paradigm shift right now, that's alright. However, you should make it your strategic goal to work your way towards this behavior. If you develop the second behavior of living below your means through the financial priority system discussed in the second behavior, you will eventually achieve this strategic goal. It is going to require you to think differently, act with purpose, and maintain a level of discipline concerning your finances. When you have the ability to live on one paycheck in a two income family, the doors of opportunity open a little wider. You will have the security of knowing that a job loss is not as much of an emergency as it used to be. Saving the net income from a second income source will create a buffer between you and life. The longer you are able to maintain this behavior, the greater your ability to capitalize on the three factors associated with solid financial planning, which are time, amount, and rate of return.
These first three behaviors focus on your interactions with your income. Combining incomes increases the amount of financial resources available for investment. Living below your means will preserve more of that income. Living on one paycheck builds discipline into your spending and investing behaviors. For some who are reading this book this is common sense. For others, developing these behaviors will require large paradigm shifts and a need to reframe your current relationship. However, if you want to make positive impacts to your retirement planning, you need to begin to view the world from a different perspective. One of the best ways to manage this transition is to work closely with a professional life coach that specializes in this area. A recent study cited in the prestigious Public Personnel Management Journal stated that 98.5% of coaching clients said their investment in a coach was well worth the money(70% of clients said their investment in a coach was very valuable.â¨28.5% said their investment was valuable). Do not underestimate the power of a focused accountability relationship with a personal strategic coach.