“Writing a check separates a commitment from a conversation.” ~ Warren Buffet
In other words, put your money where your mouth is. Sounds like good commitment advice, right?
In Buffet’s world, there are “sell-side” financiers (who sell research, recommendations, or securities) for whom this commit-with-your-wallet idea works well; don’t just talk about wanting results, make a financial commitment, they advise. Conversely there are ”buy-side” financiers who are the focus of such products and advice.
Likewise, in the self-improvement industry there are sell-side experts who want you to commit to personal progress by buying products, services, and advise or therapy.
And there are buy-side customers. That’s us, the “self” in the self-improvement world.
Making a financial commitment to achieving your goals works well for sell-side parties who have a product or service to sell. But does it work for the buy side?
Q. Do you really need to spend money to lose weight, get a new job, make new friends/find your significant other, or drop bad habits?
A. Not necessarily. Here’s how to tell when a financial commitment to your goal isn’t really necessary.
1. Look at why you think spending money would help you achieve your goal.
Ask: Is it a short cut to help you avoid real work (just take these pills to lose weight fast)?
2. Look at who is suggesting you make a financial commitment to your goal.
Ask: Is there someone on the sell side who stands to gain from your financial commitment (pay us money first and we’ll turn you into a famous model)?
3. Look at the terms of the financial commitment .
Ask: Are there unreasonable rules and limits associated with this purchase/payment/membership?
4. Look at your other options.
Ask: Is there a better way to achieve the same result without spending as much (or any) money?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to reconsider shelling out cash. It isn’t likely to bring you any closer to real progress toward your dreams because your commitment is matched with empty promise. Sometimes you don’t need to spend any money at all to achieve results, and in the cases when you do, try to take services or products for a test run to see if they meet your expectations. Then decide if a) the commitment is reasonable, b) the promise is reasonable, and c) these two things make it worth the cost.
Stay tuned for a related post, Why Fitness Clubs Want You to Make a Financial Commitment.