The biggest struggle in my journey to financial independence hasn’t been finding ways to improve my budget, reduce my expenses, or even increase my income. The hardest part has been trying to find the patience to wait for success to show up. But success is like a blister – it shows up once the hard work is done.
I grew up in a blue collar home where hard work was both expected and required. My hands, while not as rough as they once were, are still calloused to this day from the manual labor I did growing up. Working hard is in my blood and I have the genealogy to prove it.*
I’m the son of a drywaller, who was the son of a steel mill worker, who was the son of a farmer who was the son of an immigrant that traveled to the United States in the 1840’s.
Just like me, each of these men worked hard to provide for their families and success probably looked very different for each man.
My father was a successful small business owner that taught me to not only work hard, but to get paid well for that hard work. Dad is retiring on May 1st of this year at the age of 69. I’ll be traveling back home this month for his surprise retirement party.
His father, my grandfather, worked in a steel mill. Grandpa also wrote for his local newspaper and sold cars (like I did!). Talk about a hustler.
Unfortunately, I don’t know much about my lineage once I hit my Great Grandfather, but I do know that he was a farmer and I know that farming is a whole lot like hard work (especially in the pre-tractor days!).
My Great Great Grandfather was an immigrant, and starting life over in a new country can’t be easy.
Going back multiple generations the men in my family had no choice but to work hard to provide for their families. While I work hard today, I’m not going to pretend I know what they went through. But I do know I’m in the position I’m in today because of them. In a literal sense I’m the product of their efforts, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Success is like a blister
The sacrifices these men, and their families, made landed me in a position where I was able to to graduate from college (the first in this particular line to do so, but not the first in my family). That education has enabled me to follow a career path which allows me to pursue an early retirement.
I doubt the term “early retirement” ever went through the minds of these men. Thankfully the world I live in makes this dream a realistic possibility. It’s not only possible to become wealthy, but the formula to do so is surprisingly simple:
- Spend less money than you make
- Invest the difference
- Eliminate, then avoid debt
Okay – I’ve done that. So … am I rich yet?
Don’t I wish! Maybe there should be a fourth variable added to that equation:
4. Hurry up and wait.
It can be frustrating when you first start tackling your finances. You’re doing everything right. You track every penny you spend, create a budget, develop a debt elimination strategy, save, and invest money.
But success doesn’t show up that easily.
It’s kind of like trying to lose weight. You start by eating right. Eliminating fast foods. You exercise. You sleep better. Then you hop on the scales after a week and are frustrated with the results.
Finances are the exact same. You gotta have patience because success is like a blister – it usually shows up once the hard work is done (#rimshot).
Just keep doing the right things, build momentum and give it time (and try not to get frustrated and quit when progress isn’t happening as fast as you hoped it would).
Patience has never been a strong suite of mine. What is your biggest struggle and how do you deal with it?