Personal finance is a journey — a journey that looks different for every single person.
Whether you’re working on a savings goal, trying to pay off debt, or investing for retirement, you need patience. Patience is the one thing that if you master it, it will tremendously help you to reach your personal finance goals.
Learning to Enjoy the Process
I used to be extremely impatient. That all changed when I had kids, though.
I remember when my daughter was first born. I wasn’t prepared for those sleepless nights. In fact, having a baby wasn’t what I thought it would be — at all. In my mind, having a baby was all happy times. You know, like dressing her up and showing her off to people. I thought she’d pretty much eat, sleep, and just be cute.
Needless to say, I was in for a huge reality check. My first daughter never slept at night — and I mean never. She didn’t start sleeping all night until she was around 18 months old. I had some serious meltdowns over my insane lack of sleep. I remember thinking, “I wish she was older and would start sleeping at night.” I spent too much time wishing instead of enjoying.
My baby is now almost five years old and I wish I could go back in time and hold her and cherish those sleepless nights.
Luckily, when my second daughter was born I was expecting very little sleep. But as life has it, my two girls are like night and day. My second daughter slept so much as a baby that I thought something was seriously wrong with her. Instead of wishing away the days I was much calmer and relaxed with her. I learned to enjoy her time as a baby because I knew it wouldn’t last that long.
When you have kids you begin to realize just how fast time flies by. Instead of complaining about everything and wishing for the future to come faster, you enjoy the ride.
So, you might be wondering how raising children and working toward financial goals are alike. Well, they are.
When you have kids, nothing comes easy. You have to figure out what works and what doesn’t and you have to have patience.
The same goes for your personal finances. You’re not going to see instant progress — it’s just not going to happen. Instead of wishing for that day to come when you’re raking in the money you need to learn to enjoy the process. Anything worth having is worth working and waiting for.
Realize what’s in your control and what isn’t. You need to work on the things you have the ability to change and then wait it out.
When you consistently work at something, it’s amazing just how fast time goes by.
Applying Patience to Personal Finance
It’s easy to want to give up when things don’t work in your favor. You decide to pay down debt but are barely making a dent in the principal. You open up an investing account but your money isn’t growing. You want to save more but you only have small amounts to contribute.
The things you are doing are all the right things to do. You just need to be patient and give your plans enough time to flourish.
Anything worth having requires hard work and time. If you make a plan and are consistent with it, all you need is patience. Don’t give up!
It’s usually not the end results of our goals that make us happy — it’s the path we take to get there. Working toward goals that require self-discipline and patience help to build character and boost self-confidence.
So, if you’re working toward a financial goal but feel like you’re treading water, just remember:
- If you’re in debt, you didn’t get there overnight and you won’t become debt-free overnight either.
- You took out student loans as an investment in yourself (college education). Make your investment work for you. (And pay that sucker off.)
- There’s no such thing as overnight success when you’re investing in the stock market.
- You have to make a plan and stick to it if you want to retire early.
Also, know you’re not alone. There are tons of people in situations just like yours. Some of the people will succeed at personal finance while others will fail. Patience and self-discipline are the two detriments. You can make complex financial plans, learn the As through Zs of investing, and read financial books, but without patience and self-discipline you won’t get anywhere.
Ready to work on your financial goals? Start making habits, work toward your goals consistently, and put more money toward them whenever possible.
Slow and steady wins the race.