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Retirement: A Place Where Time Stands Still

Retirement Investing (Image of Stamp)

There’s a special place at the end of my road – a place where time stands still.  Or does it?

Time Stands Still

Six years ago my family was relocated from Ohio to Georgia.  This was our 8th relocation of my career, so we’re familiar with the process.  We’ve never taken more than 48 hours to buy any of our 8 homes, and this time was no exception.

One of the main reasons we chose our current home is the relative remoteness of the place. While only 25 miles from downtown Atlanta, we’re surrounded by literally thousands of acres of woods.  It was a natural fit, given our need for space for our goats and four dogs, and our general love of the outdoors.

I’ve alRoad Endways loved the woods, and have enjoyed exploring the many miles of desolate paths through the woods around our new home.  The “golden gem” is, literally, “The End Of The Road”.  Many years ago, a bridge washed out on our road.  Rather than repair the bridge, they closed the road. Literally. 400 yards West of our house, there’s a barricade across (what used to be) the road.  Step over the barricade into a surprising “wilderness” of undeveloped raw forest for miles in all directions.

(Picture at left is, literally, the end of the road. 100 yards ahead is the barricade) 

The Road     The River

What remains of the “old” road is a washed out dirt track, heavily rutted in places by lack of maintenance on the old dirt road.  Along the old road are fascinating remains of old homes (see the “feature photo” at top of this article), an old car, bullet ridden stop signs at an old intersection, etc. In six years of walking down that road, I’ve only seen another person one time.  It’s desolate, quiet, serene and beautiful.

(Picture at right is a view on the old road)

After a 1,5 mile hike down the old road, there’s evidence of the old bridge’s foundation.  It’s the dogs’ favorite place in the world to swim.  It’s also their Dad’s favorite place to walk.

I walked there a few weekends ago, and took the picture at the top of this post.

I thought as I walked:

“A Place Where Time Stands Still.

Or is it?”

While the journey down the washed out road is a fascinating journey through the past, has it really stood still?  The house in this picture was once someone’s yard, someone’s home.  They have a life story that was built within it’s now decaying walls.

It’s now decaying walls.

Even here, where nothing has changed since the road was closed, time moves on.  Decay slowly returns the timbers back to the earth.  The stop sign will, invevitably, rust away.  The road will likely, at some point, become overgrown and disappear back into forest.

Time’s Connection To Personal Finance

Time is an important element as you approach your investment strategy.   In the words of John F. Kennedy, time does not stand still:

JFK

Recognize the unending nature of time:

If you choose to procrastinate with your investments, time moves on.   You lose.

If you choose to leverage the power of compounding, time moves on.   You win.

Either way, time moves on.  Time is outside your control, but it’s impact on your financial future is unmistakable.  Every dollar you put to work TODAY, is worth more than if you wait until TOMORROW.  The reality is that, at some point in your future, you will most likely be unable to continue to work.  Once that time arrives, you’ll either have built a sufficient investment portfolio to allow a high quality of life in retirement, or you’ll have squandered the opportunity due to procrastination and face a difficult and uncertain future.

In this arena, procrastination has a true and significant cost.

Don’t wait.  If you haven’t gotten serious about your personal finances, there’s no time like the present to get started.

Your future self will thank you.

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