Sunday, March 4, 2007

Money vs Marathon

Yesterday, Saturday, March 3, I taught the UCLA class based on my book, Wealth On Any Income, and today I rode my bike in the L.A. Marathon bike tour. The bike tour starts at 6 am, 2 hours before the start of the Marathon. In that way it is completed and those on bicycles are not in the way when the runners get started. This year, to have it even more safe, the runners started at least 8 miles away from where the runners started. Based on this opening paragraph, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with the title, Money vs. Marathon. Right?

I didn't connect the two until today when I reflected back on my class in how people develop the habits they need to handle money effectively, pay off debt, save, invest, and so on. I can no longer run in the marathon because my right ankle gives up too soon, like 2-3 miles. So, now I ride a bike. Back when I started training, it doesn't matter if it was to run the marathon or ride the bike, I didn't start by running or riding 26.2 miles. Specifically, when I started jogging, I got 1/4 mile before I was winded and had to walk. From there, I gradually increased the distance.

When I started riding my bike, I would practice by riding up the hills in Encino. I recall the first time I tried this; I had to stop and rest 3 times to go up a steep 1 block hill, and that was even after doing a zig zag pattern up the street. I couldn't even go up the single block in a straight line. But now I can ride all the way up to Mulholland, about 3 miles staight, with no rest stops.

Now I will get to the part about money: It works the same way. The principle that creates wealth is based on a concept that is 5000 years old called "pay yourself first." Many people will do a spending plan, or budget, and figure out they need to set aside 10-20% of the their income to meet emergency spending and retirement goals. Rather than start where ever they can, like 2, 3 or 5%, they act like they have to run the marathon without building up their bodies to go the distance. If they can't set aside 15% right now, they do nothing instead.

This is how money and the marathon are related. When it comes to creating wealth, you need to start from where ever you are, take some actions, set aside some money, and as time progresses move on from there. Start a savings plan now. Increase your 401(k) deferral. Set aside funds for emergency spending, regardless of how little it might be right now.

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