The Secret to Financial Success
Note: this post appeared on my previous blog and was published 04.27.2017
Not many things worth having or doing happen right away, or quickly. It just doesn’t. Change takes time for most people, and for most things. Remember: Simple, not easy. But we all want the quick fix, the diet that yields instant results, the get-rich-quick schemes, etc.
Your financial future is too valuable to depend on lottery tickets. And while miracles and winning the lottery would indeed be the quick fix, they are quite rare and unpredictable. Or factors not in our control (which I wrote about here.
A tree doesn’t grow in a year, and a forest takes many years to develop. The same can be said for your wealth. (as an aside, maybe it’s not so coincidental that many financial firms use a tree for their logo!?!)
When we start out in building our financial life, we tend to focus on short-term issues. We are lacking a cohesive view of how our financial picture will eventually look. This near-sighted concept becomes limiting. It can rob us of our ability to save more money if we focus solely on paying off debt or creating our lifestyle. It can also rob us of our ability to let the markets work for us and grow our wealth if we are paying more attention to Jim Cramer or another financial media marketer.
Constant short-term decision making also leads to short-term results. For example, let's say we timed a market crash correctly and got out just in time, right at the top of the market. Good stuff, right? Perhaps. Now how do we know when it's safe to get back in the market? You see, this decision making creates no foundations for future improvement.
However, if we take a long-term view, our focus shifts to improving factors that can help us.
Example: we didn't make a short-term decision and get out of the market when it crashed (albeit at the correct time). We decided we weren't going to let our emotions dictate our decision. So we hung tough and rode the market cycle out and trusted our Investment Plan. Now we have a long-term focus. And now we don't have to decide when to get back in, and hopefully at the correct time. We are now creating foundations for future improvement.
You see, if we take a long-term view - in this case with our finances or investments - we can better identify the real issue and create a plan to address it. It may not seem like a big decision at the time, but in 12 months time that long-term decision sees your balance sheet in much better shape.
For some reason, we’re all pretty adept at identifying everyone else’s issues, but not our own. So another step in improving your finances is to get some outside accountability. No one likes to turn up and say they haven’t done what they promised. This simple step can really make a difference in helping you get where you want to be financially.
Do you worry you are making short-term decisions in your life? In your financial life?
Did I just describe you in my first example above?
How are you identifying opportunities and/or mistakes?
Are you ready for some outside accountability?