05 May Why your financial future is the marathon runner
Our society is all about the now. If you’re not a millionaire by 30 it seems you’re doing something wrong with your life, but don’t be fooled: this is just one of the symptoms of the now, now, now socially-driven landslide that is so easy to get swept away by.
The reality is that in order to set ourselves up for a wealthy, smart and financially independent life we should learn from marathon runners about how to endure the inevitable highs, lows, disappointments, and second-guessing and still achieve your financial goals.
Marathon runners don’t give up when their progress is slow
Running a marathon requires persistence, training, appreciation, some lessons to be learned and commitment. You can’t just show up at the start line and expect to win with no training. There’s no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs!
A good marathon runner appreciates that progress has its own timeline: the important thing is to build stamina before speed and to keep going, no matter how much it hurts. In the same way a good investor will learn not to be overly fearful of market volatility, to stick with a strategy through market ups and downs and dry spells but also know when the strategy is no longer effective and needs a tweak.
Don’t drop out because you hit a bump in the road. Smart investors hang in there through the hills and the dips so that they are buying both low and high.
Marathon runners don’t get discouraged by bad days – they learn from them
If you’ve ever counted yourself as a runner you’ll know that you run and see progress, so you run some more. The distances go up and the times go down but then it stops. You have a bad training run or take a stumble and sprain your ankle.
A good marathon runner isn’t discouraged by a small slip. That’s because they analyse the situation but don’t dwell and after doing that they see that their training is compounded over months and years, not weeks or just one month, which gives them lots of time to get back on the wagon if they fall off. It’s the same with saving and investing: if you keep your long-term goals in mind, and see financial fitness as a month-to-month trend rather than a perfect monthly record, you’re less likely to give up after a little slip or bad patch like splurging on those shoes on sale.
Don’t give up if you haven’t met your savings goals. Stay the course by remembering you’re in it for the long haul.
Marathon runners prepare
When you’re in it for the long haul, you need to be well-prepared, well-coached, and well-equipped.
Just as a marathon runner prepares with great nutrition, great coaching, and professional clothing and gear, a person who wants financial fitness and ultimate success – whatever that means for them – prepares with adequate cash reserves and minimum bad debt, top-notch advice, and the best, low cost, tax-friendly investments they can.
The best way to stay motivated to achieve your goals is to make them specific, actionable, and above all realistic. No one who decides to train for a marathon expects to be in shape within the first month, or gives up if they have a bad day or skip training for a day or two. If your goal is to achieve financial fitness, think like a marathon runner: lay a solid foundation, get the tools you need, surround yourself with the right professional advisers; start small and steady; don’t give up if you don’t see instant results; and remember that you’re in it for the long haul.