There is no end zone. There is no goal line. There is only today.
I have often told people that they only get one “compound curve” (the financial geek’s way of saying you only live once!). A compound curve shows money growing, but it also shows a timeline of life. If you start saving too late, you have cut short the compound curve and you will never catch up.
But really it’s worse then that….What I really want to say is that you only get one life…so enjoy it. All of it. Stop looking forward to “one day”. One day I’ll retire and life will get easier. One daythe kids will leave for college and then life will get easier. One day I’ll get promoted and then life will get easier. All of this reminds me of an old story I heard a while back.
A fisherman was pulling his boat to shore and a man walking on the beach saw the boat was absolutely loaded with fish. The man asked the fisherman why he had so many fish. “I do this every week…I go out and fish and bring it all back in for my friends. We then spend the day building a fire and cooking the fish while we play songs and spend time together enjoying the sunset. We then sleep in tents on the beach and wake up and do it all over again until the fish are gone”. The man looks at the fish and says, “We need to go into business together”. The fisherman asks, “why”? The man says it’s because they can sell the fish and make a ton of money! The fisherman asks, “and then what”?
The man says they will then be able to invest in bigger boats and catch even more fish! The fisherman asks, “and then what”? The man answers back then they can build factories and process their own fish and generate even more money! The fisherman asks, “and then what”?
The man says that if they do that together for years they will be so rich that they won’t need to work and they can just fish and share it with friends on the beach watching the sunset as they eat, drink and play the guitar….
I have a serious question for you: do you ever get full of anxiety that you aren’t doing enough today? That you aren’t working hard enough? That you have too much free time? Maybe that’s true. Maybe you aren’t working hard enough. Maybe you and your family are struggling right now because you aren’t willing to do what it takes. Or maybe the opposite is true? Are you working too hard? Are you suffering day to day and find yourself praying for the weekend or for the retirement of your dreams? Maybe you have the life already that many are working hard to achieve one day
Who says there is a goal line? Who says that “retirement” is the best time of your life? Why can’t it be right now? Why can’t it be that everyday is the best day of your life? You only get one compound curve. One “today”. We all know this, but we get caught up in the day-to-day race.
My title is “Certified Financial Planner” (boring, and NOT a good description of what I DO). But I see myself as someone whose job it is to help people 1) avoid failure and 2) enjoy today without the fear of “running out”. While you may come to me for monetary advice, I also see it as my job to help you remember that life is short and that the American retirement is not really what my industry tells you it is.
People work for only two reasons. It’s either money or meaning. I can help you handle the money part, but only if you understand that life needs to be full of meaning and purpose. If you and I can talk about that then the money part will make waaaay more sense. I can’t promise you that One Day life will get any easier. But I can tell you that we can have some uncommon conversations around what you really want out of life and then we can reverse engineer your finances to get you there NOW…instead of One Day.
So now what?
- Tell me what is meaningful in your life. What gives you purpose?
- What is your biggest fear? What gives you the anxious feeling we all get from time to time? Be honest with yourself…are you working too hard? Or are you wasting your talent by not trying hard enough?
- Ask yourself the “and then what” question. You make more money…and then what? You retire…and then what? I want to know what you come up with. Maybe the day you are waiting for may actually be right now, today!