Overflowing Buckets of
Wealth by Denis Waitley
With a little discipline and patience, you
can make your journey to abundance and personal fulfillment a downhill flow
instead of an uphill struggle. The key is to use the “overflowing
buckets” concept of creating financial independence.
your life as a five-step stairway, with you standing at the top and Fulfillment
waiting for you at the bottom. Complete this picture by placing a large, empty
bucket on each of the five steps and labeling the buckets from top to
Stability, Quality of Life, Financial Security, Financial Independence.
Your objective is to fill each bucket with dollars as you progress
down the stairway, so that when one bucket overflows, it begins to fill the
The Survival bucket is how you can pay for your basic needs of food and
shelter. Once you’ve taken care of these, any extra money flows into the
second bucket, which is Financial Stability.
Financial stability is
the ability to keep solvent in the event of sudden, unforeseen changes and
emergencies in your life – insurance against catastrophic loss.
financially stable, you must have an emergency fund in a savings account equal
to a minimum of three month’s income, and preferably six months’
income. You also must have adequate permanent and transferable medical
insurance that remains in force, regardless of your employment status, as well
as life insurance, including some whole life, in addition to term, that
accumulates cash value and has a level premium.
component of financial stability is non-cancelable, individual permanent
disability income insurance, equal to at least 70 percent of your monthly pay,
but preferably 100 percent. One of the greatest financial blunders most people
make is to forget that the possibility of loss of income resulting from an
injury or illness is much greater than that of loss of life. Not only are you
without income when you are sick or injured, you also do need to be cared for
during that period, and the expenses continue even though you’re not able
Quality of Life:
When bucket two is filled with contingency dollars for your financial
stability, you can sit down with your inner circle and determine what standard
of living will give you the quality of life you want: your home, family,
education, recreation, possessions, etc. These considerations should be
budgeted with a monthly amount of savings, however small.
If you can
fill your Quality of Life bucket, a little extra discretionary income will
trickle over the lip and fall into bucket four. This is the Financial Security
bucket. Financial security is defined as the amount of assets that will give
you the amount of after-tax income you need to maintain the standard of living
necessary to have the quality of life you want, at some predetermined point
into the future, without having to depend upon day-to-day employment.
Less than 10 percent of Americans ever fill this bucket. Your goal is to be in
this 10 percent. It is not based on salary. Many individuals in the top income
brackets never reach financial security. Many middle-income Americans do. To
get in the top 10 percent, you need to put 10 percent of your spendable income
into an appreciating investment fund every month, just like a mortgage
The fifth and final bucket is Financial Independence. This is
achieved when you beat the target date you set for retirement. The object of
creating personal assets is to be financially independent of having to work,
while you still have your health and are still young enough to enjoy those
assets. Many individuals set their financial security target date at age 65.
Using compound interest over time, you can beat your target date and set
See your life as a stairway to fulfillment. Put your
dollars in the right buckets, in the right order. You’ll be amazed at the
way cash flows from bucket to bucket, like a river down a mountain.
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