Lazy. For a short little word, it sure comes with a bad reputation. And it hangs out with a notorious crew of other words: fat, boring, stupid, sluggish. To be honest, I thought of this post idea a long, long time ago, but I’ve been too lazy to sit down and write it. Until tonight.

So we’ve all heard “lazy” used in a derogatory way. “Get off that couch and do something, you lazy bum” is a phrased that I heard way too many times when I was a teenager. And I get it, sometimes being a human sloth isn’t really the best way to get anything accomplished. But we all have a limited amount of energy to get through our days, and sometimes you just need to take a break for a while and be lazy for the evening. Or the weekend. Or in my case, for a decade 😊. To borrow a phrase from Dean Wormer in the movie Animal House: “Lazy is no way to go through life.”

But I want to flip that idea on its head. If you’re reading my blog, you’ve probably heard that actively-managed mutual funds under-perform low-fee passive index funds, so maybe our friend “lazy” has some positive attributes, too!

Legendary inventor and telemarketing salesman Ron Popeil had a famous line he used over and over about his Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ:

What if we applied that to our financial lives?

Could you “set it and forget it” if you set up automatic contributions to your workplace 401(k)? Maybe just check back once or twice a year… that is still infrequent enough to be considered lazy!

Could you “set it and forget it” if you set up automatic bill pay for your recurring expenses and routine transfers to your high-yield savings account? That’s not just lazy, it’s smart!

Would it be ok to be “lazy” and hire a property manager so you can just sit back and collect rent checks from your rental property? Sure, it might cut into your profits a little bit, but think of the headaches it will save you!

How about hiring a cleaning service and a lawn service to take care of chores so you can be lazy and have someone else take care of your house? It could be a good move if that frees you up to spend more time and mental energy expanding your side business or working on a special project that could result in a promotion at work.

I think lazy gets a bad wrap, and it shouldn’t be considered such a terrible thing. What do you think? Am I just lazily defending myself for being a slug?

  1. I think there are some very good aspects of being “lazy.” One being that it encourages you to do things like the automatic contributions you mentioned.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever be lazy enough to let someone clean my house. (By which I mean, my standards just aren’t high enough to care that my house is only nominally clean.) But I totally get people who do. I don’t know that it’s even being lazy so much as more efficient with your time and/or energy.

    I think a lot of what we dismiss as “lazy” is really just a different way of looking at priorities. Besides, sometimes lazy days are good and restorative so… There are benefits to being lazy.

    1. I think you’re absolutely right, but I’ve heard criticism of hiring chores done as being “lazy” which is why I included it. Maybe, just maybe, people are going to criticize no matter what you do! 😉

  2. Guess I would define my words differently. Efficient is not lazy. Efficient is smart. Automation is efficient and smart. It frees me up to do things other than actively taking each individual step in my financial life. Once I decide to do something, if I can automate it, I do. It’s more efficient and frees me up to focus on other areas. I’ve been on a financial independence path for a few years now. When I automate something, I can look at the bigger picture, and automate more steps. There was a time in my life when I was frightened away from automation because of what the “bad guys” could do to me. Had no idea how much this was holding me back. Today I don’t know what I’d do without automation, and a budget. I have made so much progress it still amazes me.

  3. I totally get where you coming from. I used to have such a bad view point on the word lazy, but that’s been changing for me. Sometimes, it is better just to be “lazy” and let your body relax and recover. Or be “lazy” and hire someone to do a job that you hate or takes up too much of your time. So far, it’s definitely been making me happier. 🙂
    Great post!

    1. Thank youuuuuu, that’s what I’m trying to bring my thinking around to. It’s ok to outsource, to relax, and to automate. And sometimes it’s actually optimal to do so!

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