If there is a single underlying theme at Storybook Financial, it is that time and money are both scarce resources and how you utilize these resources directly impacts the quality of life you live. If you hope to maximize your life’s joy, then you better being paying close attention to how you care for these two resources in your own life.
The unfortunate thing in life is how these two things interact with one another. When you are young you have all the time in the world, but you typically do not have money in which to enjoy the world. As you move into adulthood, you willingly give up your time to gain money. It seems that as soon as you have money and move into retirement you get a few good years before old age saps your energy and steals your time.
American culture has very much become about sacrificing today for a better life tomorrow. Strictly numbers speaking, its great advice for your finances. We will deal with the magic of compound interest in a later blog post! Is it great advice for your life happiness? I’m not as convinced! Here is a story to illustrate:
It’s the weekend and a Physician Assistant was getting ready for his 1,000th extra shift over the past 20 years. His wife was leaning on the doorway with her arms crossed. She waits awhile to see if he remembers the picnic, she had planned him and their 2 kids at the park. “Don’t start with me, honey, they need me at work, and we could use the money” he finally says. “I don’t care about the money, you promised you’d spend more time with the family” she replied. “But don’t you see, that’s exactly what I’m trying to get for us. In another 5 years, we will be able to retire comfortably at age 50! Most People can’t even dream of something like that! You and I will have all the time you want for picnics only this time on mountain tops” he snipped as he kissed her on the head and walked out the door.
Fast forward 5 years. It’s a Wednesday and our now retiree is picnicking on a mountain in lovely Colorado. “This place is gorgeous!” said his adult daughter. “Yeah, thanks for brining us here dad” agreed his adult son. Something about the moment struck him as a tear started swelling in his eye. Unfortunately, what should be a tear of happiness is a tear of sorrow. Only a year prior his wife had been in an automobile accident and passed away. His dream of spending all the time in the world with her had been shattered by unforeseen events. While he was with his children, he was beginning to realize he had missed their childhood for a dream that would never be fulfilled.
The above story was designed to help you understand a lesson that I have learned from the CF Community. Life is short and you never know what is going to happen. Do not make the mistake of sacrificing everything today for a dream that may never come true. Working extra shifts may be encouraged if it helps you reach a life goal, but do not lose track of the life priorities that are available to you today. While not true for everyone, time with loved ones is usually routed deep in my clients’ strongest desires. Often more important than that next trip to Europe, the large house you have been saving for, or being able to retire. Time with loved ones, is something available today and for free!
Time and money are scarce resources. What do we do when we have a scarce resource? We hold it tight and never let it go! More realistically, we prioritize! All our life financial planning clients go through an exercise where we do the following:
- Write down where our time is going.
- Write down how we would like to spend our time.
- Look for ways to make Step 1 look more like Step 2.
I call this time budgeting. We look at this daily, weekly basis, monthly basis, and a lifetime basis. How could you free up more time for the things you really enjoy? Its that simple! Prioritizing your money is not all that different. True cash flow budgeting is done monthly and takes a bit of a commitment. The more important thing is having a big picture idea of how you are spending your money. Don’t just do this on a monthly basis, but on a lifetime basis and yes even a generational basis (its called estate planning).
The important note to take home on prioritizing these scarce resources is that we are looking for areas that you’re using these resources on things you don’t really care about and reallocate it to something you do care about.
Storybook Financial is a financial planning firm determined to help those that believe in the betterment of the world around them. As a fiduciary, our service promotes unbiased financial planning with an emphasis on young medical professionals and their families. We are constantly pushing for new ways to give back to the Cystic Fibrosis community. We are based out of Iowa City | Coralville Iowa, but we serve clients nationwide with our robust virtual presence. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.