The other week when I announced I was back to writing on the blog, I talked about wanting to write about a new topic: Life Dividends.
So what are Life Dividends anyway?
Life Dividends are the skills, habits, and hacks you learn and apply to your life. These actions provide benefits both in the moment as well as continued benefits in the future.
They are the 15 minutes of reading you do before bed.
The extra payment you make towards debt.
Even your morning walk you take to begin the day.
Every action we do each day plays a role in our overall happiness and fulfillment in life. For some actions, the effect is minimal. Others, however, play a much bigger role – such as figuring out ways to help cope with stress or improving your health and fitness.
Much like financial dividends, investing in only one Life Dividend skill, habit or hack isn’t going to magically create a remarkable life. But over time, as you begin to switch more and more your monthly, daily, or even hourly actions to more productive Life Dividends, the benefits begin to compound and you will begin to see a positive change in your life.
The thing most interesting about them? They can be both financial and non-financial in nature. Let’s take a look at what I mean.
Sometimes Life Dividends are financial…
I first started thinking about Life Dividends when my wife was pregnant with our daughter. I always wanted to be a good father but once the reality set in that I was actually going to become one that I realized I needed to begin preparing myself to achieve it.
I didn’t want to be the father who always worked long hours, sacrificing time with my family. I lived in that world growing up as my parents struggled to find the balance between providing for and spending time with the family. I didn’t want to endure the stress of trying and failing to find the balance between my work and family life.
So we made a change to our financial life to help prevent it from happening: We made extra payments on our student loans.
And you know what happened? Those extra payments led to us paying off our student loans in less than 5 years (with over $36k coming in the last 18 months).
What started as a little action (an extra $100 towards our debt) snowballed into much bigger results – results that helped us feel financially secure when our daughter was born and helping relieve financial stress from our life.
Sometimes they are not…
While the first Life Dividend I experienced had a financial theme to it, Life Dividends do not have to be financial. In fact, you may discover that a majority of them aren’t related to your finances at all (at least not directly).
I have shared in the past that I often battle stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, triggers can range from something as simple as needing to make a phone call or having a lot of work assigned to me in a short timeframe. While it has approved throughout the years, it still affects me on a weekly basis.
After listening to many podcasts, I realized that meditation might help me slow down and control my anxiety and stress a bit more. It might be able to bring a little more happiness in my life.
So I gave it a try. I started meditating using apps like Headspace and Calm. I would wake up in the morning and sit down and dedicate a little bit of my morning to focusing on myself.
While this is still a work in progress, I’ve discovered that it helps. On days where I take the time to meditate at least 10 minutes in the morning, I find myself more willing to let things go and not let stress and anxiety overtake me. Does it always work? No – but it does bring me a little more happiness and calm during the day and that is all I need to get the snowball moving.
While we normally think of dividends in a financial sense, Life Dividends don’t need to be financial. Life Dividends are those little actions we take to try and make life just a little bit better; a little bit happier. They can range from paying down debt to reading 15 minutes every night. Whatever they are, developing these skills, habits, or hacks can help you create a remarkable life.
Over the next few months, I will be focusing on different Life Dividends and running experiments with them in my life. The goal is to make life more enjoyable as we push our way towards financial independence. It takes a lot in life than just investments to successfully complete the journey to financial independence and Life Dividends can be the key to helping us get there.
Do you have any Life Dividends in your life? How have little actions led to big results in your journey towards financial independence and your remarkable life?