One of the best things that I’ve done to impact my creativity and productivity is to get my financial life straight. I’m not independently wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but soon I will be down to no debt and am accumulating a modest amount in a retirement savings account. I am a money buckets samurai. I have multiple savings accounts for different purposes. Having that system, catching that flow, has helped me get clearer and more creative in other areas of my life.
There is the retirement bucket. Steve Chandler in his book 100 Ways to Create Wealth suggests having a boring, automatic saving system along side to your more ambitious service and wealth producing ideas. Though I never want to depend on money for my sense of security, there are times when I look at that slowly growing sum and think, “if something happens I could survive for a few years on that if something happens.” Obviously, this is fear-based thinking and it is not advisable to touch your retirement account, but when my mind goes on fear, this account is one strategy to deal with it.
Phil Laut, author of Money is My Friend, introduced me to the concept of multiple savings accounts. He explained that one of the reasons that it can be hard to save money is because people keep it all in one savings account. For many people it can become a mental juggling act to remember the purpose for that money. What I found revolutionary about Laut’s ideas about is that by having different accounts, you are also training your mind how to think about money. Money buckets for the samurai mind. Here is what Phil suggested:
- Cash Flow Savings Account: this is an account where all your earnings go and where you pay yourself out from. Laut suggests keeping a months earnings in this account and “paying yourself” from this account. “The practice of spending last month’s income this month removes you from hope about money.”
- Large Purchases Savings Account: this is an account where you have the freedom to withdraw from it to save for and buy whatever you want.
- Financial Independence Account: you deposit money here and only withdraw the interest. You are training your brain to think in terms of financial independence.
- Millionaire Savings Account: here you are training your mind (and your finances) to be prepared for making investments.
- Annual Income Savings Account: in this account you save to take a year off of work, and to benefit from the creative energy that would bring to your life and work. Laut suggests building up to take a day off, a week off, etc. I haven’t tried this one but it sounds fun.
- Generosity Savings Account: this is an account where you practice giving it away. Laut writes, “You will find that generosity will enable you to let go of your desire to control others and will increase your ability to express your love freely, instead of looking for something in return.” I like the act of just giving back to a world that has already given me so much. I love giving to public libraries.
Luckily, having multiple savings accounts is a lot easier than when I first started. Capital One 360 (formerly IngDirect) makes it easy to create and nickname different accounts and make deposits through the internets. Interest rates, of course, are way lower so you would have to investigate different kinds of financial buckets beyond savings accounts. But the key thing here is training your little ole samurai mind to catch your flow, financially and creatively. Bucket!