Life isn’t a dress rehearsal

While I was at Xerox, I had a boss who liked to say, “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.”  By this, he meant that you shouldn’t just live to work, but also live along the way.  There would be no going back.  No do-overs.  He worked hard and many long hours, but he also tried to be home and do things with his family and friends as well.  When he retired at 65, I asked him if there were things that he wished he had done, but just hadn’t gotten around to.   I guess he had had a pretty good work life, because there were only a few things he mentioned.  And they were not about work – they were about family and friends and travel.  That was going to be his focus going forward into retirement.

You only get one shot at life.  So make sure you stay focused on what’s important to you, not just what feels urgent at the moment.  That includes your financial life.

At my stage in life, there are 2 things financially that I am focused on.  First, financial security after I stop taking a paycheck, and Second, helping others get closer to their version of financial security.

I am right on track for my own security, and that feels good.  But what feels even better, is taking all the knowledge and experience I have gained and helping others start their own journey.   I take the simplest and most automated path forward.  Essentially, my first step is to help them eliminate high interest debt.  This is mainly done by helping them find a few spending leaks that they won’t miss much, and automating additional payments on their debt to get it paid off fast.  After that, then we focus on building long term wealth.  We can automatically use the extra debt payment that was being made, and now funnel it into something like a Total Stock Market index fund, or target date index fund.  Then find some more.  Lastly, I always focus on automating everything.  Why?  Because our biggest issues with savings tend to be behavioral.  When the laziest approach is to do nothing and that results in good investments being made, life becomes simpler.  When we have to go out of our way to stop or change the investment, we many times won’t.  Just too much effort.  And that turns out to be a good thing.  So turn your busy lifestyle into an asset rather than an excuse.  Automate every investment.

I hope you are well on your own journey and will be able to help others as well.


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