Far too many people put off making sound financial decisions because their time horizon is too short. We’re a disposable society with attention spans that only last for the 11 minutes between commercials. We expect CEO’s to turn a company around in a few weeks. We’ve grown accustomed to murder mysteries being solved in an hour, Cliff Notes and audio books, and high speed Internet. If this page doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds, chances are good that you’ll click out!
A long term attitude is your best strategy for accumulating wealth.
I received an email from a reader who asked a question about this long term attitude:
It’s hard to focus on retirement when its so far away. How do I keep my focus on something that will happen in 30 years when I’m struggling today? I only make $48k/yr with a wife and one kid. My wife doesn’t work and we’re just getting by.
My answer? Pay yourself first and remember: there IS no secret, but don’t look at 30 years, look at 10. Almost everyone that’s working today can remember something from 10 years ago and I would bet that most would say, “It seems like just yesterday…” So think about 10 years. In the meantime, look for ways to reduce your expenses and increase your income. You can accomplish a lot in only 10 years. You would be amazed at how much!
Here’s a few other things that were accomplished in 10 years or less:
A band of colonists organized and defeated the strongest military in the world. Remember the US Revolution? In less than 10 years, the “shot heard ’round the world” transformed the way the world viewed freedom and liberty.
The US put a man on the moon. Our country accepted the challenge issued by President John Kennedy and, using computer systems that had less computing power than a cheap digital watch today, we left Earth and set foot on another celestial body.
The Transcontinental Railroad was completed and what was a six month trip from coast to coast was reduced to about 6 days.
The Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Hoover Dam were all completed in 10 years or less. You learned to speak your native language in less than 10 years. You learned to walk in less than two!
What’s the difference between all those items and this reader’s attempts to save for retirement? Goals and the desire to reach them. He has to want it for a reason and only he can determine that. I can’t. I have my own definition of a great retirement. It isn’t enough that I tell him he should save for retirement, he has to reach that conclusion himself, and he has to figure out what will motivate him to do so.
From now on, make it a personal commitment to notice everything that pushes your buttons. Make a note of everything that inspires you. That’s your control panel. Those buttons operate your whole system of personal motivation. –Steve Chandler
I would venture a guess that most people already know they should be saving. What’s stopping them isn’t their circumstances, it’s their desire for current personal comfort at the expense of their future.
[tags]accomplish, 10 years, retirement, save, invest[/tags]