If there’s one thing I hear from so many people, it’s that they wish they started something years ago.
Often it’s saving for retirement. “I just think of all those years I could have been saving, and I wasn’t doing it...”
And true, the power of compound interest does favor the younger folks. You’ve all seen those charts that say that you could invest $100 a month to have a comfortable retirement if you started at age 25, but need something like ten times that amount if you start twenty years later.
There are some things that you don’t know to be true. Most people didn’t put money into bitcoin back in 2012, because they couldn’t have known that $1 back then would be worth a bazillion squillion dollars today. (That still doesn’t make it an investment though.)
But pretty much everyone knows about their needs in retirement. I don’t know anyone who thinks that Social Security is going to be enough for them. If someone isn’t tackling this head-on (or at least making a plan to do it), it’s usually because of overwhelm.
And I have compassion for that. I’m overwhelmed by a lot of things. There are plenty of areas in my life where I am not nearly as prepared as I want to be.
However, some perspective is needed. Because there are too many people who feel like it’s too late for them, and that’s just not true.
Yes, Virginia, there is a future
There’s an interesting cognitive bias I’ve noticed where people see only the past and the present. (People who study these things surely have a name for it, but I’m arm-chairing it right now.)
But unless you’re on your death bed or there’s a strategically placed piano about to fall on your head, you’ve got a future too. And that’s important.
So let’s try a little repositioning of you in time. Let’s pick you up from the present and deposit you some time in the future. Say twenty years? Pick a time that works for you.
Now, as you in the future, I want you to look back to today. What would you wish you had done today so that you wouldn’t feel that sense of regret then? I bet you you could think of a thing or two.
Got something in mind? Good.
Now you have your plan. Start on it.
It’s not too late
You see, so many people are focused on what they didn’t do years ago that they don’t realize that they can still do that thing today.
We all need to realize that there is a future, and that in that future is themselves screaming back at them, saying “NO! It’s not too late! Start now!”
Yes, there are some things for which time is passed. But what is happening today that you could take advantage of now that you’ll thank yourself for later?
As long as we have a future, the present will one day become the past. Will we look back at today’s present as a time when we could have made a change but didn’t? I hope not.
Start now. The future is waiting.
(And if you don’t currently feel this kind of regret, and think that you have all the time in the world, you may want to pay heed to the sounds of so many other people’s regret. This could be you before long.)
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