The One Degree Wealth Blog

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It Just Takes One Degree

By Yvonne Marsh, CFP®, CPA

It’s so small really – one degree.  Yet, if an airplane is one degree off course leaving from San Francisco, it will land in Baltimore MD instead of Washington DC.  If water is 211 degrees, it’s just really hot.  But if it’s one degree higher, it’s transformed into steam that can create electricity and move locomotives. It doesn’t take much – just that one degree difference. 

And it’s the same way with our money mindset.  It just takes one decision by one person to forever change how a family lives and thinks about money.  Think about it –in every wealthy family, there was that one person who decided to create the wealth they didn’t have or see, growing up.  They made up their minds.  It was a single decision – a one degree mindset shift that transforms the financial trajectory of their family, for generations. 

For my family, that person is me.  I watched my dad work hard all his life, with a full-time job plus running a farm, yet we lived paycheck to paycheck. There was never extra money for vacations, or splurges, much less money set aside for college.  We clipped coupons and spent sparingly, and I absorbed the money mindset of “can’t afford it” and “don’t really need it”.  Yet, that experience was the greatest gift to me.  It lit the fire that I wanted more for myself -   to crack the code on money and wealth and learn how wealthy people “got that way”.  And so, I scrimped and saved to get myself through college and went on to become a CPA in a national accounting firm, and then a CFP® and now I own a wealth management firm.  I learned a lot about money and investing along the way.

And guess what?  Through it all, I learned that it wasn’t as mysterious as I thought, to be money-smart and create long-lasting wealth.  When I used simple, common sense money habits (anyone can learn and DO), and threw in a dose of patience, wealth became inevitable.  But most importantly, it took that one-degree shift in my intention.  To save first and spend second.  To live within my means, but still aspire for more.  To have a financial vision so I knew where I was heading.  And to be a financial role model for my kids because I want them to grow up in a world of possibility and confidence.  In the generational relay race of life, I’ll be able to pass them the family baton and urge them on to success in their own leg of the race, rather than forcing them to start all over again, at the same starting line where I began.

So how about you?  Are you the person in your family?  If you’re not, you can be.  That one-degree shift is yours to make. 

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