David Bach has written many books on finances over the years, but the one thing that has stuck with me since I first read his book The Automatic Millionaire is his formula for how many hours you work for yourself. It goes like this:
Last week, I worked a total of ____ hours.
I earn $____ an hour (before taxes).
Last week, I put aside $____ for my retirement.
So last week, I worked ____ hours for myself.
Now plug in your numbers and see how much you worked for yourself and how much you worked for someone else. This was an eye opening exercise about seven years ago when I first plugged in my numbers. It explained a lot about my path I was on, and my future I was planning for my self without a great plan. Since then, my numbers have been getting better every year, and this year with my income and my wife’s combined the numbers are looking amazing for us. So here are our numbers for January 2017:
Last week, we worked a total of 85 hours combined.
We earn $26.37 an hour (before taxes).
Last week, we put aside $887.50 for our retirement.
So last week, we worked 33.66 hours for ourselves.
Now I am being conservative with those numbers this is our worst-case month. It is in season for me coaching, so I work more this time of the school year, and my wife works more hours for less because she is a first year teacher. I also didn’t factor in our Teacher Retirement for Texas, so with that factored in the numbers look even better (maybe closer to 38-40 hours). We do automate all our retirement accounts, savings accounts, taxes being saved in accounts for the year, and bills. This book has changed the way we save and function as a family unit. By automating we know we are paying ourselves first, each and every paycheck, and we can watch our net worth go up monthly because of it. We will continue to watch these hours go up as we get pay raises, and subtract some more bills, such as our mortgage in the coming years. So for now, do the exercise and get the wake up call. Put a plan together to get rid of unnecessary expenses, and improve whom you are really working for. Feel less stress as your financial situation improves little by little. Also, read The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach because there are many more gems in there that can change your outlook on your personal fortune to be made. Learn to work for yourself in 2017.