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Ben Kingsley Blog post by Ben Kingsley

Financial Sacrifices and Choices

This month commentary has evolved from the clear message that comes out of ANZAC day each year – Sacrifice.  Our Diggers’ case represents the most poignant and refined definition of the word.  The men and women of Australia back then and today are still choosing to make a sacrifice for the greater good of their community.  Some of them making the supreme sacrifice to provide the freedom that we as Australians enjoy today.

One needs to tread very carefully in making any cross references to the sacrifice that these men and women have made and are still making today. However it was during ANZAC day that I thought deeply about the meaning of what sacrifice is all about, because it’s in all of our lives and it has influence on the choices we make and it’s also a consequence of some choices too.

A great illustration of this is a couple looking to start a family.  By choosing to do so, they will have to sacrifice some of the personal time they once had for each other and also for themselves.

I bet right now some of you reading this are thinking – that’s not sacrificing anything, you are bringing a new life into this world and there is nothing more rewarding or purposeful in life than that.   Others might be thinking – yes it is or was a big sacrifice and the sacrifices keep on coming in terms of this new child’s care so personal interests and time are going to be impacted in some way or other.  It’s wonderfully ‘human’ that we all have independent thoughts around this, but there is no escaping it, whether it is this example or others, during our lives we are constantly going to be challenged by the concept of sacrifice.

There are examples of people who develop a core focus or interest and through their determination to be great at that focus or interest they will sacrifice other pursuits or experiences.  Famous musicians, elite sports people, academics, all carry stories about sacrifice.

In a finance sense we make sacrifices all the time.  There will be hundreds of events in our lives from childhood – opting to not spend your pocket money on 20 cents mixed lollies and saving it instead to sacrificing the holiday fund to put the money into a more reliable car.

But what is the biggest financial sacrifice of all?

The clear winner by a country mile, based on clear facts and figures is that the vast majority of households and individuals sacrifice their future quality of life and standard of living for immediate gratification.  Again, if it wasn’t such a serious matter in the fact that the majority of Australian will not be able to fund a basic to moderate life after retirement, then it would be embarrassing to connect the sacrifices others have made to keep our freedom with how poorly we use the money we generate.

My message on financial sacrifice is a simple one – those who sacrifice some discretionary joys now and make their money work a bit harder for themselves, will be the ones with the dollars when it matters most.  And those not willing to make some honest decision with themselves and keep their heads in the sand – they will only have hindsight to reflect on the sacrifices they needed to make but didn’t!

Knowledge is empowering – if you act on it!


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