When I started working out, it felt like a nightmare. Short of breath, panting and struggling to exercise for a few minutes. When I first did a plank, a few seconds felt like my hands, stomach, and legs were cramping.
But everything has a beginning. If I could only do a plank for 10 seconds when I first started exercising, I gradually improved to 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, and so on. That’s because I was used to it.
I used to have a lot of excuses for not working out. If I felt a little tired, I would say, “Don’t push yourself too hard; it’s not good for your health.” But because I was supervised by an instructor while working out, I tried to fight through it. And that taught me discipline. So that I don’t just accept the situation but also strive to fight beyond what I’m used to doing.
I may not be as fit as an athlete, but I have improved my muscle strength. Initially, our muscles and body can only handle level 1, but with regular exercise, we can rise to level 2. The stronger we become, the higher we can rise to level 3, and so on.
The same pattern applies in terms of finance. Sometimes people say, “Ah, talking about saving is easy if you have money. Talking about investing is easy if you have a lot of money.” Still, just like with exercise, there are levels that we can do to strengthen our financial muscles.
When our income is 1 million rupiahs, we can start saving 100,000 rupiahs. It doesn’t matter if it’s relatively small as long as we’re disciplined and consistent. Many parents with low incomes can go on the Hajj pilgrimage after saving for years, compared to those with high incomes who cannot save.
As our income increases, we can increase our savings amount. As our expenses decrease, we can improve the portion of our savings. And so on, the two primary keys to becoming financially strong are increasing income and reducing costs.
I once told the staff at Excellent that there was a blank spot in my life. It was when I worked in Cikarang and Tanjung Priok in my 20s and 30s. When I think about it now, I was working just like everyone else, but I didn’t have any financial goals, financial knowledge, or desire to learn about investing.
I did save, but without direction. Sometimes my savings would even run out, and I would retake them. I spent money without thinking, without planning. I just spent it, and when it ran out, I would borrow more. That’s how I lived my life at that time.
But now, I have goals. I have a financial plan, a budget, and a target. I am trying to allocate my income and expenses in a balanced manner. I save and invest. And I also educate myself about financial matters.
That’s how I strengthen my financial muscles. It’s not just about having a lot of money, but it’s about how we manage and allocate our money. It’s about having discipline and consistency in saving and investing.