OnPlane Financial Advisors
Do Well. Be Well. Financially.

Blog | Fee Only Certified Financial Planner Washington DC

I like to write about what happens in our lives and how it can relate to our financial lives. Not always but most of the time. So keep checking in. I'm glad to have you reading along.

New Year, New...Toothbrush?

Note: this post appeared on my previous blog and was published on 01.10.2018


My wife recently purchased an electric toothbrush. Of course, she told me I should get one too. I resisted for a few days. Then one day I tried it*.

*I used a new toothbrush head, so don't get too grossed out.

Fast forward two minutes later and...WOW!! My teeth felt much cleaner, almost straight-from-the-dentist-clean & I immediately, I mean my wife ordered one from Amazon and two days later (thanks, Prime!), I had my very own electric toothbrush.

Over the past month or so, I've noticed two distinct improvements:

My teeth are consistently cleaner.

When I was manually brushing my teeth, I had to do all the heavy lifting - brush up, brush down, side to side. You get the drift, we all brush our teeth. It's not hard, really. But my new electric toothbrush is designed to be more efficient. A regular manual toothbrush delivers only 300 to 600 movements per minute vs. up to 48,800 movements per minute with an electric toothbrush - or a month's worth of manual brushing in just 2 minutes. That's a staggering increase in efficiency!

I brush my teeth for the full, dentist-recommended two minutes

Often times longer. Now I'm not standing there wondering "hey, has it been two minutes yet?" Not with the electric toothbrush. It has a timer that sets for 2 minutes. Now I know every time I brush, I am making my teeth and my dentist happy.

So what's the deal? How does this relate to your finances? I'll tell you, because I've thought about this during my 2+ minutes of brushing, 2 times a day.


I've automated brushing my teeth. This means I can take the guesswork out of whether my teeth are really getting clean. And I can take the guesswork out of whether I've brushed my teeth for the full 2 minutes. Just like automating your savings plan takes the guesswork out of how much you should be saving. And from forcing you to log into your bank account and transfer the money manually. Let's face it, most of us aren't going to do either one with much consistency, so automate!


It's easy to cheat on brushing our teeth when we don't have a timer. Maybe we brush for 1 minute instead of two because we're in a hurry. Just like it's easy to cheat on transferring money from our checking or savings account into an investment account. Maybe we want to spend that money instead of saving it. We lie to ourselves, which is actually pretty easy if you think about it. This applies to our toothbrush, our diet, our workouts, even our money. My new toothbrush, with its built in two minute timer, holds me accountable.


The automation and accountability of my new toothbrush makes it easier for me to be disciplined. I know the two minute timer will go off eventually, so I do what I have to do (like think of blog posts) and don't have to guess when it's been two minutes. Discipline is a skill, not a talent. So the easier we can make it for us to be disciplined - whether that's with brushing our teeth, saving money or managing our emotions around investments - the better our chances for success.

  • Do you automate your savings plan? Is it monthly, yearly, etc.?

  • Who's holding you accountable for your savings plan?

  • Do you struggle with discipline in other areas of your life? Food, gym, etc.?