We’re constantly searching for the secret, simple way to get to X. What’s X? It’s different for everyone. Perhaps it’s how to eliminate soap scum. Maybe it’s a 20% return on your investments.
Consider Isabel Allende’s observation of us in My Invented Country:
“The most popular books are manuals: how to become a millionaire in ten easy lessons, how to lose fifteen pounds a week, how to recover from your divorce, and so on. People always go around looking for shortcuts and ways to escape anything they consider unpleasant: ugliness, old age, weight, illness, poverty, and failure in any of its aspects.”
I have found that even if you find some magical way to quickly obtain your X, life’s problems aren’t really solved. The race is never done. You may “make it,” but without effort you will not keep it. You’ve successfully completed the steps to housetrain your dog, but a month later, you discover a puddle in the kitchen. Your kids are getting straight As, and yet you suddenly get a call from the principal. You train to perfection over many months for that race, and then stumble just before the finish line. Every day you wake up is a new day with old battles, new battles, victories, and defeats.
2011 is over. I hope you’re enjoying 2012. Was last year a great one? Was it a miserable one? Does it matter? I think not. Remember the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” This year doesn’t care how last year went. If you had misery, you may have joy. If you had joy, you may have misery.
Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, recently wrote: “Tomorrow is another day, my friend, and you are not yet dead.”
If you had a day filled with failures, don’t despair, for tomorrow is another day.
If you had a day filled with success, don’t get complacent, for tomorrow is another day.
How does this relate to your money?
Well, for example, today you may spend more money than you should. Tomorrow is another day. You can do right then. But realize that you’ll have to spend even less than you could have since you’ve already spent some of tomorrow’s money.
Today you may have saved less than you should. Tomorrow is another day. You can do right then. But realize that you’ll have to save even more than you were planning on in order to make up for today, as well as the interest you could have made.
Today you may have spent less or saved more than you had budgeted. That’s great. But tomorrow is another day. Today’s little victory can be built upon or squandered. Today’s defeat can be motivating or discouraging. Which one is up to you.
“Making it” is not an end, but rather a process; and no matter what you’ve done up to now, tomorrow is another day.
Gary Silverman holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) license and is a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA®). Gary is the founder of Personal Money Planning, a retirement planning and investment advisory firm, and is a Qualified Kingdom Advisor.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.