Do Your Routines Help Create Wealth & Happiness?

September 7, 2007

Is your life full of routines? Are they helping or hindering the creation of wealth and happiness for you?

Wealth Building Routine
Investing over a long period of time and leveraging compound growth is a great way to build wealth. You’ve probably heard the saying “pay yourself first”, well a saving and investing routine can enable you to do that.  Make putting away money something you don’t have to think about and it’s much more likely to happen.

Setting up an automatic investment routine when we first entered the job market 7 years ago has allowed us to start a nice nest egg; I would definitely recommend starting a saving or investing routine to anyone.

Routines Can Enable Happiness
The great thing about a routine is that you go through the steps enough times that you can become very efficient in their execution.  As your efficiency improves, your routine may take less time, which leaves more time to do the things that make you happy.

Another benefit of a routine is that you know the scope of the steps you need to take and what is expected of you.  This advanced knowledge of daily tasks can greatly reduce your stress level. Establishing a routine for our new son helped us adjust to the role of parenthood and meet his needs while still having some time for ourselves.

A Wealth Reducing Routine?
One negative thing about a routine is that it promotes the status quo.  You get used to doing things a certain way; a routine does not encourage innovation, research, or change.

Having a plan and sticking to it is good but every now and then you need to revisit that plan and see if it still meets your needs.  If you never rebalance your investment portfolio or make adjustments for lifestyle or risk sensitivity changes simply because you’re used to the routine of having it on auto-pilot your returns may suffer.

Routines Can Also Reduce Happiness
If you do something over and over again for years in the same way chances are you will get tired of it. The problem is often that it’s easier to keep doing the same thing than make a change or take a risk. You don’t necessarily enjoy the routine anymore but you’re “stuck in a rut”. You’d like something different but can’t seem to get yourself out of the old routine.

I’m experiencing this in my career right now. I’ve been in the same job for 7 years and although I’ve been advancing regularly I no longer feel interested in or challenged by our projects. I used to enjoy the work I did but it has now become a chore. Of course I’m used to the routine of the same tasks, same people, same commute and it’s easier to stay working there than seek out a new job but it doesn’t necessarily make me happy. I am working on a plan to get out of the rut but the “comfortableness” of the routine makes it mentally more difficult.

Routines, Good or Bad?
As I’ve shown, establishing routines can definitely help you along towards happiness and wealth but over time they can potentially become a drag on both. I think the key is to periodically review your routines and make plans to change any that are no longer beneficial to you.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to Do Your Routines Help Create Wealth & Happiness?

  • Ben

    I agree bill, I think a lot of times fear of the unknown is what keeps us from breaking our routines.

  • bill

    I see the pros and cons of routines as well. I think people are reluctant to change because change involves effort and the unknown. Sameness brings comfort, but it does become uninspiring after a period of time.