Time waits for no man. Or woman, for that matter. “Time is the only thief we can’t get justice against.” ~Astrid Alauda
So much of financial planning revolves around time; when to retire, when to take Social Security, when to fund an IRA, when to sell a stock…it’s all about time.
I read articles all the time about personal finance and they all emphasize the importance of starting to save and invest as soon as you have your first job. The numbers that result from compounding rates of return will blow your mind. A 22 year old who puts away $2000 per year into an IRA earning 7% per year will have amassed an account worth almost $1.6 million (pre-tax) by the time s/he is 65. The problem is, how many 22 year olds think about what their life will be like when they’re 65? They may think “I have PLENTY of TIME!” (to save), “I’m busy having a good TIME.”, and maybe “I don’t have TIME to think about that right now.”
How time flies. We who have seen our twenties can say that with all confidence but, as we may recall, we could not appreciate that fact until we had no choice but to accept it. Some accept it so late in life that playing catch up on those wanton years is a monumental task. “Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Procrastination is about our difficulty acting for the long term, yet financial planning is all about the long term.” Dan Ariely, PhD. It’s tough to act on things because we’re human, not computers. We become distracted, confused, and anxious. It’s hard to take steps toward stewardship unless we’re in a favorable mindset. We have to realize that we are in control of our time and learn how to use it in our favor.
How can we harness the power of time? I think the trick is learned the moment we decide to do so. I have found (and maybe you will, too) that if I physically schedule the activities in my date book that I know I must do to achieve my goals, I actually get them done! It’s so simple, but it works. I have become accountable to myself, my family, and my clients because of five minutes in the morning over a delightful cup of coffee, a pencil, and my date book. You can do this.
Grant yourself a Mulligan and start on your resolutions again today. Take one step at a time (pun intended). Spend time on important things. Invest time learning. Just don’t waste time.