13 Apr 2023 24 Hours of Adrenalin
When I was younger, my friends and I used to enjoy competing in endurance races like the 24 Hours of Adrenalin race in Conyers, Georgia. It was basically a mountain bike event that involved completing as many laps as possible of the mountain bike course designed and built for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The singletrack trail was super challenging with lots of steep climbs and technical descents. Most of the competitors participated in 4-person teams (although some chose the solo option!) with each rider taking turns on the course throughout the day and night. It was a tough race that required physical and mental endurance so training and preparing well was imperative.
These days, I no longer compete in 24-hour bike races, or any races for that matter. Even though my life as a husband, dad, and business owner can sometimes feel like a 24 Hours of Adrenalin event, my goals have changed. I’m no longer driven to hold up my end of the bargain on a 4-person bike racing team. My “athletic” hopes for the future now involve things like being able to backpack with my kids into my late seventies, continuing to mountain bike for many more years, just with a little less intensity and ferocity, and traveling easily with Crystal.
All this brings to mind a question. If my goals for the future have changed, should I change the way I’m preparing, or training, for those future plans? It’s likely that my new goals require a different mindset and a totally different training regime than my previous interests. The long hours on my bike required to prepare for an endurance bike race are almost diametrically opposed to the things I should be doing now if I’m going to have a good chance of backpacking and biking later on. If I’m going to be able to remain as active as I hope, I probably need to be working on my strength, flexibility, and balance. That means spending more time lifting weights, doing yoga, and putting my shoes on while balancing on one foot (thanks Sallie!) than in a bike saddle.
So, what does all this have to do with financial planning and why am I writing about it in a Beacon Friday Brief? As I was considering my future plans and the changes I might need to make to my current exercise routine, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between developing a personal fitness plan and a personal financial plan. For example, these three takeaways come to mind…
First, if you want to have a reasonable chance of accomplishing your fitness goals, or your financial goals, it’s important to have an idea of the direction you’d like to head and a plan to get there. I know I’d like to remain very active later in life but I’m not sure exactly what activities I’ll choose. However, I do know that they’ll be different from the ones I enjoyed 10 years ago. Had I not stopped to consider how my future self might like to spend his time, I could have spent valuable time driving towards the starting line for a race I’m not interested in running. Similarly, I’m not sure when I’ll want to stop working, but I know that I’d like to have the option to slow down at some point. It’s a long way off but better to start thinking in that direction now rather than having to make a dramatic shift when Ryan and Jared finally decide they’ve had enough of me. Reminds me of a great Yogi Berra quote, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Second, once you know where you’re headed, it’s important to make sure there is alignment and balance between your current activities and your future goals. Are the things I spend my time doing today improving or reducing my chances of being able to live the life I hope to live in the future? It’s not that I have to stop mountain biking all together so I can spend all my free time at the gym or in a yoga class. However, I do need to be more intentional about finding a balance that allows me to enjoy the life I’m living now with the reality that there are certain things I need to focus on for the benefit of my future self. The same is true for our financial lives.
Third, it might be good to get some advice. Now that I’ve decided on a direction and recognized that I need to make some changes to my exercise routine, I still have to take action. I’m a decent cyclist, and I can eek by in a yoga class, but I have no clue what to do at the gym. I’m not sure what exercises I should do, for how many reps and at what weight? Even if I did know all this, I ‘m sure I’ll need some guidance making sure I’m using the correct form and perhaps even someone to keep my accountable. Financial planning is no different. For example, you may know that you’d like to travel extensively in retirement and feel like you should be saving more, but you still have to quantify how much more to save, figure out what type of account to save it in, and decide how to invest the additional dollars. A good financial planner can help you not only dream about the future and understand what’s possible but also assist with identifying and implementing important changes that could help ensure that you’re spending your time on things that are improving your chances of being able to live the life you hope to live in the future.
So, how do you envision your 60s, 70s and 80s? How will you spend your days? Do you have an appropriate balance between your plans for the future and the things you’re doing today? Let us know if you’d like to chat. We probably can’t help with your weightlifting questions but we’d love to talk with you about your personal finances.
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