Life is interesting with all of its twists and turns. Sometimes we plow forward in life with our head down, then sit up one day only to notice that we are not exactly or even remotely close to where we expected to be in areas like careers, marriages, relationships, health, financial practices, and wealth. It reminds me of the lyrics in the Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime”.
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.
And you may find yourself in another part of the world.
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.
And you may ask yourself, “Well…how did I get here?”.
The Financial Gamut
I’ve certainly been through the gamut in many of those aspects including many financial highlights and low-lights:
- Married at 24, divorced at 44. Pre-divorce having to support running two households for a year and half. We also ended up having to sell the family house at the bottom of the real estate market in 2010. Market pullback “loss”: $100,000.
- I “almost” cashed out and sold my company stock one day before the company surprised announced accounting irregularities. The stock fell about 30% that day, then proceeded to drop over 75% in the next year before finally hitting the low single digits two years later. Oh yeah, I got “downsized” in the corporate hacking that resulted from a massively shrinking business. Wham, bam. Ouch.
- Started a business and walked away with $100,000 less five years later. To add insult to injury we lost five years of new savings towards retirement and other goals.
- Father of two wonderful kids. (not biased at all.) As parents, we funded 90% of their college despite starting to invest during the early stages of the DotCom Crash.
- After nearly ten years with a company, a competitor bought my division. The acquiring company purchased the asset part of the business just not the 500 or so people who ran the back office for the business. Once again I got “restructured” along with the other back office people. This time though I was ready and excited.
What was different this time? Me and my mindset. I had prepared by years of past work on financial well being. I knew I was going to be fine and that this was an opportunity to leap into a different path forward.
Ironically, I got the corporate acquisition news while I was on vacation in Sedona, Arizona. That particular day I decided to visit the Grand Canyon and drove all day through the National Park starting at the East Entrance. When I finally got back into cell service at the Visitor Center, my phone lit up with texts about the company sale. After a day of looking at the beautiful, expansive, and timeless Grand Canyon, the “news” honestly seemed small and immaterial in the grand scheme of things.
Financial Practices as Center Point
My confidence came from many places. One in particular is that through my various twists and turns in life, my daily financial practices have helped me stay centered. What does centered mean to me? Owning what is happening and knowing that I have the right mindset, discipline, outlook, and behaviors. That center point will successfully carry me forward through the bumps. I can take the hits that life sometimes presents us from a solid position.
The daily financial practices are the key to me that center and ground us thereby allowing us to better respond. I’ve survived the big mistakes and achieved meaningful financial accomplishments in the end while still being on a path to financial independence.