Back to the Future
"The bad news is time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot."
Think about all the people that you love. Think about the way they make you feel and the memories that first appear when their faces form in your mind. You likely thought of, in no particular order, your parents and your siblings, if you have any, and certainly your children and your spouse if you are so blessed. If you are lucky like I am, you may also have been additionally blessed with friends that you truly love, friends who have been there for you through all of life’s ups and downs.
These few are the people that we would probably risk our lives for without a moment’s hesitation. That we would help them through a personal difficulty goes without saying. Yet there is a special someone that you probably haven’t thought of yet. Can you guess who it is?
If you are now thinking “It’s me”, then you’re close but still wide of the mark. It isn’t you that I am referring to, it is future you. The “you” that will be here 10, 20, 30 years down the road. This person is special and he or she needs us, right now. What you do today will determine the comfort of the space future you occupies. Will that space be full of abundance and satisfaction or will it be fraught with fear and lack?
I have often felt that this concept was uncomfortable to contemplate. I thought about why it caused distress and the reason, for me at least, is that I knew deep down, that I was not doing all that I should for future me and by extension, my loved ones. Lamentably, I simply wasn’t doing all I could to secure my future.
I told myself that I “needed” all sort of things that I didn’t need and that didn’t make me happy. What they did do was to reduce the amount of savings available for future me. I’m embarrassed now to admit it but a little over a decade ago I drove a German luxury car. It was certainly a powerful, well-made vehicle but the speed limit was still 65 miles per hour. The songs on the radio were the same as those playing in every Ford Taurus or Honda Accord sharing the road with me. My friends didn’t suddenly like me more and the car was impractical in bad weather.
Luckily, with the help of one of my good friends, I came to understand that my decision to drive that type of car had a lot more to do with an image I had been sold rather than a sincere desire of my own. That is not to say that everyone driving these types of cars are doing so as a way of conforming to an image created on Madison Avenue. I am simply admitting that it was the case for me. And it was costly.
These days I have become better at determining where the marketing mavens influence ends and the real me begins. I am better at it but far from perfect. As Yoda once said “much to learn, I still have.” But I am learning and it is creating a better future for me and those I love most. Even more exciting is that when I committed to these small changes, I began to see results almost instantly.
Pleases sit down when you have a moment with a pen and a piece of paper. On one side of the page write down all of the things that you have which you absolutely need. Things like air, water, food and love to start. Then on the other side of the page list all of the things that you have which are simply wants or desires. Now decide which of those wants/desires actually make you happier. There is no doubt that some of them, many of them even, do make your life better. You may be surprised to realize that quite a few of them do not. Here are a few examples from my own list:
- Gym Membership used once or twice in 5 years
- Cable box on a TV rarely used
- Premium cable TV channels rarely watched
- Land phone line not bundled with cable service
- Outdated cell phone plan
This list is by no means complete and includes only those expenses that I’ve reduced recently. They have added up to quite a tidy sum.
Why not consider eliminating those things on your list that bring you no happiness and rewarding future you with the savings? Putting that money in a coffee can will leave us with more than casting it to the wind. If you would like some ideas about how your new-found riches may be saved or invested, consider consulting a financial professional whom you trust. Remember though, nothing in history was ever created through inaction. Make your list and take action. Future you will thank you!
Scott R. McGimpsey February 13th, 2017
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Brokerage Services Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC