“You gotta live in the now!”
That was the mantra we had printed on our t-shirts for a group holiday we enjoyed in first year university.
It was an expression of freedom, a celebration of youth and a shout out against a society that required us to conform in so many ways.
After all life is for living and trying to look too far into the future can simply hold you back, make you scared to experience the journey of life and enjoy things while you can.
I think it helped that at the age of 18 or 19 we all still believed we were invincible, that we would conquer the world, that our lives would be extraordinary.
We also believed that 30 years of age was “old”.
As time has moved on, the boundary of what I consider “old’ tends to be re-defined somewhat and displays a very strong correlation to my own advancing age. Now in my 40’s I am less inclined to even define 70 as “old” and in a spectacular about turn I now consider 30 to be rather young.
I am also convinced that the pace at which life passes is incremental – The “time” it took for me to turn 20 seems infinitely longer than it took for me to get from 20 to age 40. I am petrified that the 40 to 60 (God willing) twenty year period is going to feel even quicker.
To add insult to injury there is an even greater injustice we face as we move through life – The fact is that often in our youth we have time and energy, yet we have little money. As we move through our careers and start families, we have more money, hopefully a fair amount of energy, yet we struggle for time amongst our busy schedules. By the time the fortunate amongst us reach old age or retirement, we hopefully have money and extra time but the energy may be missing.
Regardless of how we as individuals experience life, how we perceive success, or for that matter define a life well lived, there is a fact that none of us can escape – Your future becomes your present. Let me say that again….. YOUR FUTURE BECOMES YOUR PRESENT.
So while we want to live a full life and live in the now we must simultaneously understand that what we do in our present has a direct impact on our future-present.
And with this acceptance we may understand that a financial plan becomes more of a necessity than an irritation.
A plan is simply a way of bringing your future into the present so that you can do something about it. You are the expert on your life – you decide what you want your life to look like.
A financial plan should not only be about improving your wealth, it should be about bringing you greater happiness.
Planning for your future financial well-being may very well suck. Done well it won’t be easy but it will definitely be worth it!
WARNING: This was written by a person who makes his living from helping people use their resources as best they can to reach their life goals. While his intentions are good, he charges actual money to do this. Please DO try this on your own at home. Speak to people older than yourself (both successful and not so successful in your eyes). Learn from them, listen to what they wish they could tell their younger selves. Read the blog of a young cancer patient to find out what they consider the important things in life – do you agree with them? What is really important to you in life? Is the current use of your resources aligned with reaching these goals? Write your thoughts, findings and emotions down on paper – revisit it often and live the life you really want to live by prioritising what is important to you.