The Future Is Now
On October 20th, 2005 I included the following phrase in a blog post, "I would advise thinking about the market a place to get rich slowly." The phrase getting rich slowly or get rich slowly has become more popular over the year. Naval Ravikant among others uses that phrase, there is even a blog at getrichslowly.org. I said back in 2005 that I doubt I was the first person to coin that phrase but fast forward to today and I think the reason so many people have used the phrase is because it is just common sense. Chasing heat or fad stocks like GameStop as the latest example is an attempt to bypass the slowly in the get rich slowly heuristic. I won't be so pigheaded as to say you can't get rich quickly, you can but far fewer people will get rich quickly versus getting rich slowly.
Here's the thing though about slow...it's life and it's not that slow. There are theories that life speeds up as we get older. My take on that, again I don't know if this is original so not claiming it to be so, is that when you're ten years old and there's six months until Christmas, that's a long time because it is 5% of your life. When you're 50, a year is only 2% of your life and each successive year is a smaller percentage so time speeds up. Ehhh, it's a theory but ask anyone who's 50 or 60 how quickly the last 20 years went by and see what they say.
Getting rich slowly is an attempt to make things better for yourself in the future, you're making decisions to help the future you. A few years ago it occurred to me that the future is now, the future is here. The age at which the future arrives is different for each of us but in financial planning terms it could be defined as when you start to benefit from past decisions. In my case, that path is layered. From day one of our marriage, my wife and I have been on the same page of living below our means which allowed me to take a couple of career risks in my early and mid 30's which ultimately led to how my career and our life have played out thus far.
Just shy of my turning 55 now, we are lucky enough to live where we want to live, doing what we want to do and thanks to other types of decisions related to lifestyle, we are relatively young for our ages. But the work is still ongoing. Even though the future might be here as we thought about it in our 30's, we are doing things now that hopefully benefit us into our 60's and 70's if not further out. There are dividends at every age for staying in shape and having a proper diet. If you're in your 40's now and are benefitting from one or two (hopefully more) good decisions when you were younger, what can you do now for the ten years from now version of yourself or the 20 years from now version of yourself?
In this realm you could focus on beefing up savings, investing in yourself like learning new skills, taking more time for your health if that hasn't been easy to find time for or anything else relevant to your situation. In terms of walking the walk, last winter I took a class related to wildland firefighting that would beef up my Plan C, around the house we've done a couple of things that would hopefully make it easier for us to stay here longer like adding solar back up as a generator of sorts, we need to work on getting a bigger plow for the snow to put on our pick up truck, we a had one huge storm this winter that taught us our ATV blade is not big enough and of course health and fitness is always ongoing.
The final point is one I have made before which is that no matter your age, life is easier if you are now benefitting from decisions you made when you were younger. For example, if you have been living below your means for a while then you've saved more and so you have fewer money troubles. How many marital arguments are about money? I don't know specifically but we all know that a lot of arguments are about money. How much better would life be not worrying about or arguing about money? If you make $10,000/mo but live a $5000/mo lifestyle, you're very unlikely to have too many arguments about money. That will make life easier which is the best thing you can do for your future self.