The famed writer, Andre Gide wrote:
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore, for a very long time.”
I love this quote, it is full of pathos but also a lot of hope. To see what I mean, first take a look at the lives of the families who were left behind when their loved ones set sail back in the day on those horrifically risky voyages out on the open ocean. There was no way of knowing if the ship would return. There was no way of knowing what was happening to the people on board the ship during its absence. The amount of stress and worry for these people must have been almost overwhelming. Look at the courage the Pilgrims exhibited to sail across the Atlantic to the Americas. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to bring my wife and children along for this journey not knowing what the end result would be.
Now let’s apply this example of Pilgrim courage in taking some risks to discover a new life by consenting to leave the shore in terms of how you manage your money.
- First, you must try new things if you want to handle your money well and most importantly, if you want to keep it. If you’re not willing to get educated and look at new options for spending, paying down debt, and saving, then it’s like staying on the shore and not going anywhere. You will be safe (maybe) in what you do know, but you won’t be able to find any new options that might bring you much better success.
- Second, if you leave the “port” so to speak for a long time, by learning how to control spending for an extended period of time, paying the price to get out of ALL debt in a short amount of time, and understanding what it takes to save over the long-term, you will find that you can create your own passive income. This will allow you the wonderful opportunity to not only retire wealthy, but have the means to help others as well. When we have passive income we are truly free! The more options that come into play, the more excitement comes to our lives.
- Third, financially you can set sail by holding yourself accountable weekly as to how you are spending the money you have earned. This is hard to do, at least emotionally, much as it would be to leave home and family to sail to the New World, but it opens up all kinds of new options you have never dreamt of before. This is the hard part of “losing sight of the shore, for a very long time.” As you build a spending plan, examining the last 12 months of how you spent money, then share this detail with your spouse, you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself… what you value, what your real priorities are, and what you want to change NOW! You will become totally transparent to yourself and your partner and this of course will make you very vulnerable. However, with the vulnerability comes opportunities financially that are not possible when you are closed off to your true self when it comes to spending, borrowing, and saving money. Remember, as long as the ship is in the port, it is safe, but as they say, that is not what ships were built for.
Building a spending plan, a debt plan, and a retirement/savings plan with yourself and/or your partner is the best way I know of to test your ability to discover “new lands” financially that are not possible playing it safe on the shore. But because they are plans, it is also the safest way I know of to make emotional changes that will positively affect your finances without costing you any more money out of pocket and without risking your family and relationships in the process.
Here’s how to start this process of “leaving the shore to discover new financial lands”:
- Create a 12-month history of the way you have spent money.
- Divide this spending into categories so you can see what you really value. Will you be surprised at how important eating out has become to you, or that you spent $1,000 in one year on spa treatments? Maybe that’s important to you, but if you really didn’t want to spend all that money at McDonalds then it’s time to make change. WOW! This can be so hard as you face the future knowing how inefficient you have been with your money.
- Make a spending plan for how you want and need to spend money over the next 12 months. This is where the voyage gets more exciting and feels less risky.
- Track how you spend money so you can stay on track. Compare how you actually spent with how you planned to spend and make adjustments.
The Pilgrims left England not knowing what would become of them. The result of their courage is what you and I enjoy today. We enjoy the freedoms and liberties to travel as we wish, with one currency, along with the rule of law and order. Amazing is the sacrifice of our forefathers so we could have it easy. Don’t blow all that opportunity by refusing to stretch yourself emotionally when it comes to proper financial management. I ask you to stretch yourself today, do the hard things today so you and your family will be far better off in the future.