So you might be thinking: running & finances…how in the heck are these two related? Instead of personal finances being like a run, I would much rather run away from most financial situations (“don’t make me choose whether to rent or buy a house!”) But hear me out. Just like any type of work out, it’s as if our brain starts to get more in tune. We start to channel in on thoughts that are undiscovered territory in our minds.
The last time I went on a run I couldn’t help but recognize how parallel it was to a personal finance journey (p.s. this was within the last few weeks – trying to work on finishing that next half marathon). Just like any type of work out you engage in you may feel moments of pain, willpower, defeat, determination, and ultimately triumph. The rewards that follow are the pinnacle of everything you had to endure throughout the process. Here is my 3 mile run from start to finish as related to a millennial’s personal finance journey (if you don’t run, that’s okay! Insert any sport or work out of choice. Even studying can be inserted into this example):
The first strides, my music’s pumping. I feel like I’m ready to own this run.
Heck yes, these are the good spirited times where our theme song playing in our head seems to be “Just got paid” (or maybe “A milli” by Lil Wayne…you never know). It could be a Friday where we’re ready for a night out on the town, a weekend trip, or date night. We’re feeling financially free & groovy.
1/2 a mile goes by, the rain starts pouring down. I’m leaping & dodging over deep puddles.
At times, we may feel down and a bit under the weather. “Gosh I didn’t save enough,” or “I spent too much.” It seems like the sunshine and better days are far from arriving. But somehow we are able to just miss those potentially terrible/bad luck scenarios. We are prepared for it. If we try hard enough, we can avoid such situations even when it seems like the rain won’t stop.
I press on, I persevere. I know that hot shower is waiting for me back home once I’m done.
We’ve got to remember to visualize. Although it may seem far & we’ll never make it… (you’re telling me I’ve got to save for 40 more years, say what?) the golden retirement years are waiting for us & are always within reach if we work hard for it. As some people may say, we’re gearing up for the longest vacation of our entire lives. How would you want to spend it?
Mile 1. I’ve got this. Cars start to whiz by as I hit the main road stretch.
We may feel like people are passing by faster than us in terms of raises, promotions, internships, diplomas…or even just life. But the glory is we have our own strength to propel us forward. No need to look at those passing you by, you’ve got your own goals and the strength to accomplish them. Get to work and don’t stop moving forward.
Going on mile 2. It feels like my breathing can’t get into its normal rhythmic pattern. My internal body temperature is rising & sweat starts to pour.
Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. If anyone’s ever said that working on personal finances is always easy, they have got to be absolutely kidding you. As millennials we are working on driving down student loan debt, saving for down payments on houses, incurring wedding costs, putting money towards retirement, and ultimately saving for our future and current families. At times it may feel like we can’t even breathe. But we take it one stride at a time and break it down piece by piece. We put our focus on how we will end up feeling accomplished even at our worst of times.
Mile 2.5. What was I thinking, why am I doing this? Wait…my breathing is back in sync (finally)! My adrenaline kicks in and my pace begins to quicken. Take that average mile time, I’m going for a new personal record.
The moment we begin to question ourselves is the moment that clarity kicks in (ironic how that works, right?) We’ve been working hard consistently and our savings are rolling over from month-to-month. We start to recognize that everything becomes in tune and our finances are strengthening. We’re on top of the world, hey! (cue in Imagine Dragons)
Oh my goodness, mile 3. I’m almost home. I can almost feel that steam on my back. The wind is doing everything in its power to make this home stretch harder than it should be. Hey lungs…please don’t burst on me, okay?
Once again, life feels like it’s pulling all the stops to push back on us. We encounter moments that tempt us, or make us stray away from our financial goals making it incredibly hard to stay on track. But we’ve got this. We are so. close. to everything we’ve been working for.
HOME. Oh, you’ve never looked so sweet! I may be gasping for air but I’m having an absolute endorphin rush. My run is complete.
There it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! We’ve reached what we have been saving for. In the long-term it can be our retirement, in the short-term it could be paying off all of our student loans. Accomplishment is radiating, and dang it sure feels great.
And there we have it. My 3 mile run is just like a personal finance journey. Through all the grueling moments, feelings of victory, temporary defeat…the end result will always be worth it. Keep taking our personal finances in stride, and we can accomplish all that we want to. What type of work outs or moments are just like your personal finance journey?