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Wednesday, November 8, 2006
In a Hurry to Live a Full Life?
By Jack Jonathan and Sheelagh Manheim, Ph.D.,
Co-authors of Yes You Can… Find More Meaning in Your Life

A recent YOUNG MONEY article quotes a study which indicates that 75 percent of young adults care more about how they spend their time than how much money they make. There is wisdom in this aspiration. The good news is you can have the time to do what you want, and still develop the financial assets you need for a more meaningful life.

Dreams can become Reality

People used to see their life as a straight line: you go to school, get a job, find a mate, grow a family, and retire. But life is really more like an ever-expanding circle than a straight line.

First, define your dreams. Once you have defined your dreams, creating a meaningful life depends on the simple formula of Determination over Time: D x T = S (success of your dream). Time is a resource that can never be replaced. Once it is used up, it is gone. Determination, on the other hand, depends on your desire, willpower and optimism to keep its fire burning. Determination over time is the key to making your dreams a reality.

Time: Your Greatest Asset

How can this equation apply to your life? Time and positive attitude. Did you know that you can create a happy outlook on life? Taking time out to know yourself, developing your strengths of character and deliberately looking on the bright side, can help you be more resilient and self-confident. When you have a positive attitude, opportunities seem abundant and life smiles back at you.

Time and health.

Most of you, by virtue of your age, have the great asset of physical well-being. However, many of you probably spend more time and money maintaining your car than your body. You know the price of delayed maintenance on your car; the same applies to your body. If you take good care of yourself now, the health you create will pay you dividends later on in the form of lower health costs. But more importantly, when you get enough rest, eat right, and exercise you have more energy to do the things you want to do.

Time and money.

When you are trying to save money it helps to distinguish between your needs and wants. Make a list of your essentials for life like food, clothing and shelter, in one column and a list of your wants, the things that make your life feel abundant in another. Carry this list in your wallet so you can look at it when your willpower is weak and you need help in remaining determined to get your money’s worth.

If you are in your 20’s or 30’s, then time is on your side if you want to build a solid financial foundation. If you are determined to save regularly, invest with the highest rate of return, and leave your assets alone to make money for you, it is not hard to reach your financial goals. For example, if you put in only $6.81 a month beginning at age 20, and you got 6% interest on your investment, you could draw $100 a month from age 65 to 100. If you did not start investing until age 50, you would have to put in $62.29 monthly to receive that same $100. How many lattes, or dinners out are you willing to give up to save some income for your later years? It won’t take much now, to provide for your future. If you wait too long to put money away, it will take a lot of money to provide for your future needs.

Can you really count on someone else to take care of you? If you want to control your own destiny, you have to control your financial resources, however limited they seem. Be determined to save the largest amount you can every week. Drop it into your investment vehicle, and keep it there!!

Time and relationships.

Once you have a job, you are in a new place in the circle of your life; adjustments need to be made. It is time to consult your list of needs and wants again.

You may look around and find that your early friendship network has vanished. You might wonder if you can work and still have time for friends. Did you put friends in the needs column or the wants column? You need to have a good social network. Even economists now recognize the importance of our "social capital."

Just as you put away so much money a month for your financial future, you need to put aside a certain amount of time each day, week and month for meaningful relationships which will become a vital part of your emotional well-being in the present and the future. You will find that your happiness is directly related to the amount of time you spend helping others.

Time and passion for knowledge.

Your formal education does not stop with your graduation. When you are determined to achieve your dreams, your passion for knowledge will help expand your vision, so your dreams can become reality. Your passion for knowledge can bring you happiness all life long. It does not take a lot of time to support your curiosity, just determination to pay attention to the hidden treasures all around you.

Time and Determination

Be patient. It takes time to achieve your goal. If you budget your time as you budget your money, you can get value for your time.

Dont' worry that being so determined will make you into a perfect machine. Remember the first time you got on a skateboard? How much time and determination did it take before you experienced the exhiliration of a perfect move? Did all the practice make you a robot? No, it gave you the freedom to succeed. The same is true of any dream you are determined to achieve.

It takes determination over time to become financially independent and to achieve a more meaningful life.

As seen on YoungMoney.com Septemeber 16, 2005
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