We often get so caught up in our day-to-day lives and thinking about financial decisions, new investment strategies, or how to save money that we often can forget about what it is all for. People take the time to improve their financial situation for many reasons, whether it is early retirement, traveling the globe, or starting a new business. The goals are numerous, but the payoff is the same; to do be happy and spend time doing what we dream of.
I really enjoy Ben Stein’s column over at Yahoo! Finance, but this week’s post caught my eye. He talks a bit about the state of the economy, how the market has been setting records, large-cap is doing better than small, the state of the housing market, interest rates, chance of a recession, etc. But, he ties it all together at the end by bringing focus on why we invest and take so much time to plan our finances in the first place.
To change the subject, I travel constantly. All the time, day and night. And I usually sit next to men and women who are also traveling frequently.
Would you like to know what we talk about when we take our snoots out of the Wall Street Journal? We talk about our families and how much we miss them. We talk about how tired we are, but also how happy we are just to be supporting our loved ones.
If Pat Robertson and James Dobson or the other backers of family values could hear how strong the love of family is among business travelers, I think they’d be very moved indeed. Those men and women with bulging briefcases and laptops loaded with PowerPoint presentations are mostly thinking about how much they just want to be sitting quietly at home with their wives and hubbies and kids and dogs and cats.
If that’s what you want to be doing when you get older, buy stocks and bonds, carefully selected variable annuities, and real estate now. Then, someday soon, you’ll be out of the middle seat and by the fire with the people you love — that’s the real payoff.
This makes such a great point, whether your goal is to simply spend more time with your family or not. The bottom line is that regardless of our exact strategy, what specific investments we choose, the important thing is that you start now, start early, and keep going with it. If you do that, you will be rewarded with your real payoff in the end.
I think the end of the year is a great time for everyone to reflect back on the past 11 or 12 months and see how they have progressed in their plan. Then, take some time to evaluate your goals again and put things back into perspective. A little reflection on what is important to us can be the catalyst needed to push our efforts a bit harder and start the new year with momentum.
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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.