Are you familiar with Parkinson’s Law? Originally it stated that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Parkinson’s Law is the title of the book written by Englishman Cyril Northcote Parkinson in 1958 and today, the more recent understanding of the law is a reference to the self-satisfying uncontrolled growth of the bureaucratic apparatus in an organization.
The Law is also applied to money and wealth accumulation: expenses always rise to match income. Parkinson’s Law can explain why many people retire poor and why some people succeed, whilst others fail.
The law says that, no matter how much money people earn, they tend to spend the entire amount and a little bit more. Their expenses increase in line with their earnings. Many people earn today several times more than they were earning at their first jobs. But somehow, they seem to need every single penny to maintain their current lifestyles. No matter how much they make, it is never enough.
The key to financial success – break the (Parkinson’s) law
Parkinson’s Law explains the trap that most people fall into. This is the reason for debt, money worries and financial frustration. It is only when you have sufficient willpower to resist the urge to spend everything you make that you begin to accumulate money – the perfect environment to help you achieve financial independence.
Reduce your outgoings
If you ensure your expenses increase at a slower rate than your earnings, and you save or invest the difference, you will become financially independent in your working lifetime (and retirement).
Measure the difference between your earnings and the costs of your lifestyle, and then save and invest the difference. You can continue to improve your lifestyle as you make more money.
Here are two things you can do to apply this law immediately:
- Imagine that your financial life is like a failing company that you have taken over. Stop all non-essential expenses. Draw up a budget of your fixed, unavoidable costs per month and resolve to limit your expenditures to these amounts. The aim is to make sure that your ‘company is making a profit’.
Carefully examine every expense. Question it as though you were analysing someone else’s expenses and look for ways to economise. Aim for a minimum of say, 10% reduction in your living costs.
- Resolve to save and invest 50% of any increase you receive in your earnings from any source. Learn to live on the rest. This still leaves you the other 50 percent to do with as you desire!