I know that I have blogged before about how personal finances are like a marathon, but I have to do it again. You see, I have now completed a marathon!
1. Both require endurance.
- I started out with a pace group that was very close to the pace I wanted to run the marathon at. The leader of the pace group was running his 148th marathon! He was nailing the exact pace every single mile. How did he do that? Endurance.
- I was running with this pace group. Mile marker 5 was great. Mile marker 10 was great. The 1/2-way point of 13.1 miles was great. Mile 15 was great. Mile 17 was good. Mile 18 was OK. Mile 19 was … miserable. You see, they stuck a 2-mile uphill run in between mile markers 17 and 19. It took a lot out of me. I went from feeling great to feeling awful in less than 20 minutes. By Mile 19, I was walking!
- Did I stop? NO!!! After a couple minutes of walking, I felt good enough to run again (some observers may have called it something other than running).
- Personal finances DEMAND endurance. You will have great times, but you will also have tough times. Medical bills are going to happen. The car is going to break down. Unexpected tax bills are going to show up. Fuel prices are going to double. In those times, should you just give up? NO WAY! You may not make the progress you were making, but keep up what you were doing.
2. Things will not go according to our planned schedule.
- A close friend of mine who ran the race with me had trained diligently for the past four months. He was in great shape. He had completed the extra long runs very well. He passed out from dehydration at mile marker 22 and was unable to complete the race. What a disappointment!!! Or was it? You see, 22 miles was farther than he had ever run before!
- If you have a goal of having $1,000,000 in your retirement account by 55, will you be disappointed with having only $800,000 by 55? So what if you don’t hit the goal perfectly. In either case, you have substantially changed your life by focusing on your finances early and often.
3. It is GOOD to have friends who are doing it too!
- Although none of my friends in my home state were training for a marathon, I did have friends from South Carolina who were training. Just knowing that others were training at the exact same time as I was on Saturday mornings was awesome. Just knowing that we were all going to San Diego to run the actual race was great! It also motivated me to not skip training. Why? I knew that the race would reveal whether or not I had skimped on training. ACCOUNTABILITY – The world’s most-despised 14 letter word!
- In your personal finances, if you hang out with friends who shop all the time, watch out! If you hang around with people who must have the latest and greatest car, TV, sound system, RV, lake house, vacation, education, … and they are doing it all with debt … WATCH OUT! This can seriously damage your ability to stay committed to your sound financial principles! Here’s an idea – get them onto a budget. I recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University!!!
So I have completed my first marathon. It feels good to accomplish one of my major life goals. Life is good … all of the time.