Launa and I had the opportunity to accompany a wonderful group of youth on a camping retreat designed to help them strengthen their character. One event, which stood out to me, involved an experience with a pipe mounted about three feet above the ground, like a fence rail, that led into the woods.
One dark night we were asked to hold to this rail and follow it, one person at a time. At the end we were promised a great reward. When my turn came, I grabbed the rail and walked off into the darkness. The ground underneath was a bit uneven and from time to time there were tree branches brushing against my face. I could tell the path led by a river as I could hear the sound of the water rushing by.
At one point the rail turned and crossed over the river. It was very dark and there was even some manufactured fog that made it impossible to see anything other than the part of the rail I was holding to. Underneath my feet I felt wooden planks but could not tell how wide they were so I held even more tightly to the rail, lest I should slip and fall in the river. This journey through the woods lasted a couple hundred yards until I reached the promised reward, where I was pleased to find all our youth assembled, safe and happy.
The message of the experience was that life is full of dangers and that to make it through safely we need to have a good path and something solid to hang on to that can lead us, like the rail. As one who values long term financial planning over short term investment picking, I found this experience of holding to the rail through life to be of great worth.
I thought about the investors I have worked with and contemplated some of the rails they might hold to that could assist them in a financially successful journey. Some of them are:
-Know in advance what you want your retirement to look like. Before you grab that rail, know where it leads.
-Plan how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Have short, medium and long term investing goals and track them.
-Be honest about your ability to actually obtain your goals. Too many reach their 40’s with little or no savings, yet still expect to retire comfortably at 65.
-Learn all you can about investing, or find someone you trust to do it for you, then never stop learning. Relying on luck is like letting go of the rail as you cross the river.
-Sacrifice today so you will have what you need tomorrow. Daily sacrifice is an essential rail to any future success in life.
-Finally, when the investing world gets unsteady, or the branches hit you in the face, hold tight to the rail. Impulsive action has caused many an investor to slip into the river of financial loss.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 375 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790
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