Welcome back to another edition of the blog! I am so thankful for all the kind words and support from those who read last week’s article. It was by far the most well-received blog post I have written, and I am still blown away by the amount of feedback you all reached out with.
If you missed last week’s post about my grandfather’s fateful journey on the Edmund Fitzgerald, you can read it here: https://planwithharmony.com/remembering-the-edmund-fitzgerald/
While some of you may be here this week expecting the series on cryptocurrency and blockchain, I have some good and bad news.
The bad news, it just needs more time. And by it, I really mean me. This year has been overly full of great things in life, and I am just a bit tapped out when it comes to really digging into and writing deep posts.
The good news, you ask? The good news is two-parted. First and foremost, the crypto series is coming, and I hope to kickoff 2022 with those posts. All good things come with time.
Secondly, I have some good ideas for posts that will come out in place of the crypto series, this being the first of those. I enjoy writing too much to put myself in a position where I can’t write at all.
This week’s blog is going to play into the delayed series, as I go into how I set myself up for a “New Year, New Me” and share what I do instead of choosing a list of New Year’s Resolutions.
I boil all I hope to work on into a single word. In 2020 I chose “Patience”, and I recently declared this will again be my word for 2022.
In fact, it is going to be my word indefinitely. I want to share more about why it is such an important word in all we do.
Let’s get started!
When I set out to learn about and practice patience in 2020, I had no clue what the world was going to throw at me. None of us did.
There were times that year where it was so laughable I chose to focus on being patient. We had no idea how long the shutdowns would last, how long we would have to wait to do the activities we enjoyed doing, traveling, seeing family, it was all completely up in the air.
What I realized though, now that we have returned to a normal routine, is that waiting usually makes the things we really care about more enjoyable.
In my year of patience, I honed in on “Patience is the manifestation of reducing expectations and pursuing those things you would do, even if it meant receiving nothing in return”. When I came across this passage on patience, I felt like I was paralyzed.
“How many things do I do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis I really don’t enjoy doing?” I thought to myself.
This is something that is incredibly difficult to stick to, especially as a financial planner.
It is literally my job to evaluate trade-offs and plan for the best path forward. Little did I know, this thought process would prove crucial in deciding the name of my firm, Harmony. More on that later.
Reading that quote about patience really made me think, “What would I want to do today, even if it meant nothing came of it?”. Answering that question for yourself can help you unlock what your next steps in life may be. Not everything needs to have a “payoff” or “return on investment” attached to it.
It could mean using some of your hard-earned money to go do what you want to do today, rather than feeling shame for not saving it for the future. This isn’t to say saving for the future is a bad thing, it’s not.
For me, it meant not saving as much for retirement, but instead saving up to get the business started and have some cushion for my living expenses over the next year or so while things got going.
When working with my clients, we always go over what is Most Important to them before we ever get into the actual numbers. If we don’t know what we are working towards, why should we be working?
I see this play out in many ways with those I serve as clients. Here are a few scenarios just to have it click.
If you knew the answer to how much money you really needed, and you were already on track to have it, would you take the promotion that is going to give you a 20% raise, but also impact your ability to do the things you enjoy doing?
Whether it’s time with friends, family, or maybe even something like travel, would you take the job if it wasn’t for what you are receiving in return for giving up your time?
The same is true for those who want to start a business. Starting a business is a LOT of work. Are you going to look back and think about all the lost time, even if you get 5 years in and go out of business? Or are you instead going to enjoy that 5 years regardless of what happens?
These examples both hit on the “without receiving anything in return” aspect. Layered in there is also the “reducing expectations” piece.
Sometimes we take promotions or start new ventures with the hope that something bigger will come next. What if that next thing doesn’t happen?
This is something I see commonly with those who receive company stock as part of their compensation, too. Or those who like to play the stock market. There is nothing wrong with either of these behaviors if they are contained to account for the worst-case scenario.
If you can afford to lose the money and want to let it ride, it may make sense.
But… too often these are both risks taken with the view of the upside, the expectation that it will go perfectly according to plan.
This is where most issues in life pop up. We overextend ourselves with the expectation the best-case scenario will play out.
If and when those expectations do not come true, we find ourselves facing a situation where we now have to deal with regret.
Instead, if we reduce expectations, and do what we would want to do regardless of what happens next, we now have effectively reduced regret.
This is now where we come to the title of the blog, Patience Always Wins.
If we have reduced our expectations, and are doing what we want to do regardless of what outcomes it produces, can we ever find ourselves in a position where we lost?
Personally, I don’t think so. If we put ourselves in a position to live our best life today and focus on what matters to us, we should be able to maintain a winners mentality going forward.
This is where Harmony enters the equation. Having some sense of where we want to be can be incredibly helpful in guiding us in what we need to do today.
Harmony embodies this concept, where living the best life today intersects with what we need to do to sustain our ability to live life to its fullest.
This is where personal life and finance meet, and that intersection happens to be called a financial plan.
Your plan will likely look different than most other people around you, and that is exactly how it should be. It’s called personal finance, not finance.
You are playing your own game, and therefore only you can determine what it takes to win.
By reducing expectations, and deploying patience, you can’t lose… you’re just accepting you don’t know when or how you will win. Life is funny like that!
I will continue to build on this as we go through the next few weeks, but until then, think about what a winning future looks like for you.
See you back here next week! Keep playing your own game!