There is a funny internet meme that came out a few years ago – “Do I Run? Yes. Out of time, money and patience!” Unfortunately, many of us find it difficult to have patience for anything in our fast-paced society. When it comes to your finances, patience pays off in a big way. It is really important to understand the correlation between money and patience. A brief lack of patience can cost you for years to come if you are not careful.
Money and Patience in an Impatient World
Our society has become more and more averse to patience. You have endless amounts of information at your fingertips coming in faster than you can keep up with it. The pace of life seems faster than ever. Quick and easy is very appealing – quick and easy weight loss, quick and easy meals, quick and easy profit. Human nature comes into play. If you make a mistake, or have a mess to clean up, you just want it to go away! Unfortunately, some things require more time and effort to fix.
There’s an old Queen song that always reminds me of our current level of patience. The song is entitled “I Want It All”.
Some of the lyrics are as follows:
It ain’t much I’m asking, I heard him say
Gotta find me a future move out of my way.
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now
It’s really easy to want it all now and pay for it later. We live in a consumer-driven society. It’s natural to want the latest and greatest cell phone and tablets. Think about your career – did you have to take a low-paying job and know that you have several years of working your way up the ladder in front of you? It’s very tempting to go into debt in order to have things right away. It requires patience and sacrifice – two qualities that don’t always come easy.
A Fitness Example to Help Your Finances
In my career as a personal trainer, I worked with several people who make extraordinary changes in their lives. They lost several hundred pounds and made a complete shift in their lifestyle. They started regular exercise routines, they got on strict nutrition plans, and became very disciplined.
All of them had tried countless programs prior to their transformations. Most of the programs involved quick fixes that over-promised and under-delivered. Those programs just left them frustrated and discouraged. However, they did not give up. They knew that there were ways to succeed, because other people were doing it.
One of the big things that helped them succeed was when they realized that significant change would take time. It would not be easy, and their would be no quick fixes. Think of it this way – if it takes you several years to put on 100 pounds, how long do you think it will take to come off? Certainly, it’s going to take some time. With discipline and consistency, it may take several months. Since each person is unique, there is no standard answer.
Money and Patience Work the Same Way
Money works the same way. There are no quick fixes. Sure, there is the lottery or Las Vegas, but the odds are not in anyone’s favor! If you want to make meaningful change, it takes time to build good habits. If you have a financial mess to clean up, it will take time to do it right. However, just remember that it is within your ability to do it! I know people from all circumstances and backgrounds who have made amazing transformations financially.
The challenge is that for all of the good things that make life easier and more convenient, there are many big-ticket items in life that deserve and require careful consideration. I remember times when I made a rash financial decision based on emotion and quickly realized I made a mistake. It took me a long time to clean up the mess from a decision made in just a matter of minutes!
Avoid Quick and Easy Decisions With Your Money
If you start to apply the quick and easy mentality to deciding on a place to live, the purchase of a luxury car, or a risky investment, it can end up being a reckless decision. I want you to have all the things that are important to you. However, the big-ticket items should involve careful thought and planning. Be patient and deliberate with big financial decisions and consider all your options. Unfortunately, big mistakes require valuable years and dollars to clean up.
Mental preparation is important in helping you cut through the emotion and see the bottom line. There are many areas of patience that I want you to think about. One of the first is that I want you to be patient with yourself. Learning about your spending habits and getting a solid understanding of how money works takes time. It is just like losing weight or getting into shape. You must find the right combination of diet and exercise to see results.
My goal with Build Financial Muscle is to help get you on solid path quickly and avoid big mistakes. That being said, it is a process. It takes time to build new habits. You need time to set goals and clearly understand what is important to you and what is not. It takes time to overcome certain fears and biases and to get the accurate knowledge you need to succeed. If you have some mistakes to clean up, that is OK. You cannot undo the past, so we will work together on building a brighter future.
Money and Patience – Treat it Like a Marathon
The other thing I want you to focus on regarding money and patience is that financial planning is for a lifetime. It is definitely a marathon, so you need to think long term and understand what helps you keep more of what you earn and what makes money grow. There are going to be a lot of distractions along the way. Bad news from the financial media that may get you nervous and begin to doubt yourself. There will be economic ups and downs that may give you heartburn. Your inclination may be to try to go after the “home run” and solve all of your financial issues in one swoop.
Unfortunately, that does not happen unless you win the lottery or get an inheritance from that long-lost relative that seems to only exist in the movies. Using the baseball analogy, remember that not everyone in the Hall of Fame is a home run hitter. There are plenty of legends who got there by hitting more singles than anything. If you make solid decisions based on firm financial research and data, your chances of winning are extremely good.
Patience will help you consider all facets of your financial situation. It is not just saving and investing. Patience will help you make a smart purchase on a house instead of creating a financial burden. Patience will help you save up and pay cash instead of charging up your credit card with money you do not have. Counting the cost in every facet of your life will become an integral part of your financial management. Short-term sacrifice leads to long-term benefits.