“What you do with your time now will dictate how your life will become tomorrow.”
― Sunday Adelaja
We all lift many rocks throughout our lives. Some are big boulders that weigh a ton, some are tiny pebbles that seem almost weightless and many are a size in-between. Some of these rocks we pick up and carry with purpose and others are ones that we do not even realize we have until we open our hands to pick up another. These rocks are the decisions we make in our lives as well as the effects of those decisions, specifically the decisions that we invest time and money in to make our lives better. Many times the small pebbles we pick up today are the ones that would have become the giant boulders had we left them there for another day in our future. The rocks we choose to lift have a direct impact on how our future selves will be.
I Am Carrying Rocks?
One day back when I was living in California (which I briefly discuss in “My Story – How I Started in the World of Finance”), I was working outside with my uncle, cutting down trees, dragging branches and carrying logs. It was certainly tiring work and gave me a new respect for people who have a physically demanding job. As we were working, my uncle said to me “Paul, do the heavy lifting now so that you won’t have to in the future.” At the time, I suppose I only somewhat understood what he meant. But now, I see it much more clearly. I understand that in order to live our dreams and get to where we want to be, there are many rocks that need to be carried.
When we first enter the workplace and begin earning a living, our paychecks seems as if they are the key to our freedom. We earn our own money so that we can live the way we want to live and make our own decisions. In many cases, thinking about and saving for retirement is one of the last things on our mind. When we are in are 20s or 30s, retirement savings can be a giant boulder. If we can set our mind right and save as much as we can toward our savings, we will learn to live on what we have left over. Sure, it will be a sacrifice, however as time goes on, this “heavy boulder” becomes lighter and lighter. If we keep with our plan and invest for our future, the worry of having enough money to live off of after we stop working can become a tiny pebble that is much easier to carry.
Picking Up The Pace
Buying a house is a huge financial decision that requires many, if not most, of our financial resources. Many times, we make our monthly payments, not even giving any thought to pay anything extra. There are times that we can use that extra money in better ways elsewhere, like paying off credit card debt. However, once we are in a place where we can put an extra $100, $200, $500 or more toward our mortgage payment, we can start to see the principle balance decrease more quickly. Sure, paying that bit more extra per month may seem like a giant bite out of our paychecks, but this is the heavy lifting. We can learn to adjust our lives and our spending to accomplish this. By doing so, we are saving ourselves money (and less weight to carry) for the future.
The heavy lifting does not always mean setting money aside for retirement. This heavy lifting can also apply to paying off debt. For many people the amount of debt they owe (even excluding a mortgage) is one of their biggest and heaviest rocks. The longer we put off getting our debt down, the larger this rock becomes. As interest continues to accumulate and we overspend on things we don’t even need, within a short amount of time, this rock can become massive.
See Related Post (“Getting Out of Debt Using the Debt Snowball”)
However, if we do the heavy lifting on our debt payoff now, then we have very little debt, if any at all, left for the future. This frees up more of our hard-earned money to put toward other things, such as retirement, college savings for our kids or even toward something such as a vacation home. Once our debts are clear, the only thing we have left are the lighter rocks. Not only does this allow our savings to grow even further (thanks to the wonderfulness of compound interest), but it also gives us peace of mind and as well as a sense of accomplishment. We no longer have the burdens of debt weighing us down. Those heavy rocks are gone. Referring to the words of Sunday Adelaja, the time we spend carrying our heavy rocks now is only a fraction of the time it frees up in order to fully live life in the future.
Where I Stand
Right now, I am slowly moving forward with my heavy rock on my back. This rock is made up of credit card debt, student loans, 401k loans and more. Although I have been carrying it for a long time, every step I take is one step closer to a future of smaller and much lighter pebbles. I still have a long way to go, but I know one thing for certain; my future self with thank me for it. Not only will my future self be thankful of being debt free, but he will also be able to reap the rewards that it comes with.
So how do you lift your rocks? Are you doing your heavy lifting now and if not, will your future self be able to pick up the weight? What are your thoughts, questions or comments? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. You can also reach out to me directly at email@example.com.