Starting anything can be hard. When it comes to growing your pennies, that first little pile can be a difficult step. And they say that the first million is always harder than the second!
Come dance with the west wind
One analogy I find useful is about learning to fly. Imagine that you are on the ground, and high above you, in a clear blue sky, is a eagle. You have wings yourself (a fun analogy I know!), but every time that you flap them, you barely lift off the ground. You keep trying to get higher but you always tire and fall back to the ground. It seems impossible to stay up in the air, let alone reaching the dizzying heights of the eagle above.
Then, looking around, it appears that some of your other winged friends have all the luck: an updraft comes along and blows them into the sky. They flap their wings and they are away, chasing the thermals and gradually going higher and higher, joining the eagle, who effortlessly, appears higher still.
Strengthened with a new resolve, you begin to flap again, and with a bit of luck and a lot of determination, you make progress and perhaps catch a small updraft yourself and begin the ascent into the sky. As you move higher it seems to be become easier and easier. There’s still work to be done but you’re on your way.
Sail o’er the canyons, and up to the stars
Looking down to the ground you think back to how lucky it was to catch that updraft. But you then remember: it was because you were focused: that you were ready and could fly up into the sky, rather than being blown over into the dirt. The lesson: keep flapping those wings, be intentional, and have a written plan to help keep that focus.
This analogy works for a number of things that require consistent effort and mindfulness: writing; setting up a business; and yes, you guessed it: growing pennies!
And reach for the heavens, and hope for the future
When people first have a financial epiphany they realise that they are being blown around by life events and not getting anywhere. They make a resolution to ‘save’ money. They may be able to ‘deprive’ themselves for a few days, weeks or even months, but they soon get tired: holidays come around or they need a new car, or something else comes up that’s more important. They are soon back to having nothing, waiting for another pay-day.
This post is about the importance of sticking with your resolve: keep flapping those wings and you might just make it into the sky.
You will need to be ready to take advantages of occasional updrafts too: small inheritances, promotions, investment returns (keep reading and they will be coming!) and lucky breaks that may come your way. If you’re already flapping your wings, and focused on the task at hand, they can become blessings to take you to the next level rather than gusts of wind that pass you by, without having any long-term impact. In worse cases ‘lucky breaks’ can even harm you: one only has to look at those who have reached dizzying heights without effort: lottery winners for example: There are multiple accounts of lucky winners who have not learnt how to fly financially and come crashing down to bankruptcy after being catapulted into the sky.
And all that we can be, not what we are
Having the resolve to save something, anything, every month is all it takes before you are ready to learn to ride the thermals of financial success: This blog is here, after all, to show you the best ways to invest in yourself and in the market to make your ascent easier still.
Are you ready, really ready, to save for the long term? If you are, then it’s going to be fun flight.
This is a foundational post for Magical Penny exploring the psychology of money management.
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If you liked this post you’ll love:
- Saving with purpose: a tactical guide to saving for specific short term goals @Frugal Dad
- The power of compound interest: responsible for financial ephiphanies the world over. @Magical Penny
- The Eagle and the Hawk by John Denver (source of the headings in this post) @Great Aviation quotes
This post was featured the Best of Money Carnival #37 hosted by Pondering Money, a great read in the PF blogosphere.