Lately, I’ve been a bit speechless. Wordless, so my blog has gone dark for several days, perhaps more than a week.
My attention was on troubling thoughts about how to pay bills, make enough money to pay for luxurious items that I want; how to feel happy about my current situation.
Mostly though, my attention was on how much of what I don’t like is a result of my responsibility, or lack of, for things in my past that affect my present.
I am here in this condition, I realize, solely because of decisions I made in past times.
The old saying, “what you see is what you get,” does not exactly apply. For me, it’s more like “what you decide is what you get.” At least it appears that way today, because I can see where I’ve let others sway my decisions. But there’s the rub: I let others sway me… that gives up my responsibility right there. They didn’t sway me at all. I swayed me. I decided. Today is my own fault.
And here I am.
So, what am I really talking about here? Money, plain and simple. Not having enough for things I want. You see, I’m about to turn 67 in a couple of weeks, which limits opportunity when it comes to “regular” jobs available to me that can earn me considerable income above my basic expenses.
I cannot retire now.
Sure, I read “Rich Man Poor Man” and all of the popular reference books and their advice about setting aside, paying myself first, keeping a ten percent reserve for a rainy day and never touching it, but did I do that? No.
I was young and believed that I could control my income streams no matter my age. I had worked in sales on straight commission since I was 19, and always did well. Why would I not be able to continue that later? — was my thought pattern.
It was stupid of me. I denied all the wisdom of past mentors, all the way back to early B.C. civilizations and people like Cicero, Plato, and other thinkers and economists of their day.
Set aside a reserve: a simple concept. The trouble was, my inability to remember — remind myself — about compounding interest. If only I had kept that in mind when contemplating another vacation or another large purchase.
You know, you put money religiously and regularly into an instrument or a bank where it earns interest upon interest over several years — compounding the account balance. In real terms, one hundred thousand dollars saved over a work lifetime, becomes six or seven hundred thousand saved. But, silly me, I kept ignoring or forgetting about compound interest. “What’s a hundred thousand going to do for me when I retire; it’s nothing,” I told myself.
Wrong! Compound interest would have multiplied my savings many times over time… would have put me on easy street today with several hundreds of thousands in the account.
So much for wishful thinking and being swayed by others — it was all me, baby!
So, where do we go from here?
Well, I’m still here. I’m still me, and there are opportunities in front of me that could lead to income streams that will change my situation in a hurry. After all, every bit of the creativeness that I put into my past jobs is still available to me today. And I have experience on my side.
I can start right now and take ten percent of anything coming in and reserve it. I can do that. Whatever I thought I could create in the past, I can create today. Including this article about my money flows, my responsibilities, my less-than-ideal situation.
My wish in writing this blog is that you benefit from my article. You might take heed from me, a writer of books, not a financial adviser. There is no shingle outside my professional office. Instead, there is a only barren wall outside, needing a new paint job. My roof needs replacing, and my office is in my home.
I’m just a simple guy who thinks he can write but I’m also someone who realizes that you can get a better handle on your future financially, starting today.
You have to save money. Let the compounding interest work for you. Begin as early as you can, because you want time, years, to roll up that compounding into a handsome sum for your retirement.
Will readers heed my words? Will they save and not touch their reserved funds? Only they can promise that to themselves; or break the promise and feel the remorse and pain of the limited choices later on in their lives.
Dear Blog Reader, grant yourself the unlimited choices, which today you may not even envision will be yours. As inevitably as the sun rises in the East and sets on the western horizon every day, choices will come as opportunity. Whether or not you can participate with them — buy the things that you desire — will be determined by the decisions that you make today.
For every freedom of choice there is responsibility; these are two sides of the same coin tossed for each one of us.
What you decide is what you [will] get. No better, no worse.