Time will be Your Friend or Your Enemy…
Hello folks! Welcome back and thanks for visiting The Green Swan. How would you like to start your day with a bit of motivation?! No simpler a truth than the title says…time will be your friend or your enemy! And yet it remains so elusive for many to grasp, comprehend, and act upon. Why? I think it comes down to three reasons: lack of awareness, excuses, and a failure to plan.
“Time will be your friend or your enemy; it will promote you or expose you. It depends purely upon which side of this curve you decide to ride. It’s entirely up to you. If you’re doing the simple disciplines, time will promote you. If you’re doing the few simple errors in judgment, time will expose you, no matter how well you appear to be doing right now.”
As I outlined in my post titled Financial Literacy is my Cash Cow, the lack of awareness and education of basic personal finance is real and scary. However, there is no shortage of resources available to folks. Besides the countless well informed and fantastic personal finance blogs that are out there, a number of financial service companies offer training materials on their sites.
I entered college knowing I was destined for the finance field. Not only was I intrigued by corporate finance, I also had a passion for personal finance. So I was ahead of the curve a bit compared to the average American who’s only interest in personal finance is making sure their bills are paid on time. I read everything I could find on the topic, but one of my favorite resources was the free training and educational materials online at Morningstar. Morningstar is a great educational resource which I also use sparingly to check and monitor my mutual funds.
Our awareness level is all piqued at various stages in life, some as a result of a crisis scenario, and others out of interest and curiosity. But unless you shut yourself off from the world and the news, you should have an awareness of general personal finance topics. That leads us to the next reason, excuses…
As I just mentioned, unless you live under a rock, you should know what personal finance means, you should know that it is important, and you should know that you alone are responsible for your own personal finances.
What are some common excuses…shoot who cares, they are endless, right? Excuses are like belly buttons, we all have one. And on this matter, it may be the one time I ask that you don’t leave a comment, I don’t want to hear your excuses…
Failure to Plan
How about a shout out to Matt at Distilled Dollar…Matt, I’m about to use a Benjamin Franklin quote…
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Truth. What that means is put some goals together. For instance, set a goal to reduce your spending and contribute a certain amount to retirement accounts every week, month, or year. Map out what retirement means to you and how much that lifestyle will cost. Be ambitious and take action.
What it doesn’t mean is that it has to be right. My plans change every year. I have a master plan which includes my long term goals. To reach those long term goals, I have a set of short and medium term goals. Depending on how life circumstances change (i.e. I get a promotion sooner than expected, emergencies happen) as well as how I do in meeting or exceeding my short term goals, I revise my master plan. I take a look at this at least once a year, perhaps more often as the situation calls for it.
It most certainly is not a set it and forget it proposition! Life is a journey and so is personal finance. As we age, we learn. As we learn, we grow. As we grow, we change. My personal finance views are not the same as they were when I was entering college. Don’t let that scare you into inaction or paralysis by analysis. I’m reminded of a quote by Donald Rumsfeld related to the war in the Middle East.
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumsfeld
Start your journey today, and as you learn and grow, let your strategy and master plan evolve. We can’t expect to know it all. I know that I don’t know it all. And I don’t know what I don’t know. But start now and get the ball rolling. Time is on your side.
(Side Note from Mrs. GS / editor: I know that I have no idea what was just said…)
Finding Your Edge
That brings us back to the original quote from Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge. My edge is simple. I made myself aware of personal finance as a topic and practice. I put my excuses aside and got over them. Just like you, I have a belly button, and just like you, I have a plenty of excuses. Find a way to get by them. And lastly, I have a plan. To learn more about my plan, check out a few of my most popular posts on frugal life lessons, invest to win, and tracking expenses.
“People do not decide their futures. They decide their habits, and their habits decide their future.”
– M. Alexander
What is your edge? And remember, I don’t want to hear your excuses…
Thanks for taking a look!
The Green Swan
Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach