As humans by nature, we seem to have an obsession with transformation stories. Whether it’s fitness or a home remodel, we are in love with seeing a before and after. But what if something requires a transformation that doesn’t lend itself to a post worthy before and after image?
In our world today, we can focus so much on an outer image that less visible endeavors like our relationships, emotional connections, or our finances don’t get nearly as much elbow grease as the things that will catch your eye. The pursuits we can’t see a change in visually, are a lot harder to stay focused on.
Almost three years ago, my husband and I bought an old farmstead that needed a lot of TLC. Our family and friends have come to learn that our free time is almost always spent on our property clearing, cleaning, burning, and then rebuilding.
It has been a project that can easily become overwhelming and seem insurmountable. We work on one little corner of the property for a whole weekend and see some improvement, and then you can simply turn your head to find a spot that needs twice as much work. It can seem like we are working so hard for very little progress at times, and it reminded me how people often feel about their savings.
Then we remember what it was like when we began with this investment
Before we started taking down old rotten buildings and fence, before we burnt what we lovingly called the “junk mountain”, and before we started hauling it all away and rebuilding. Three years later, these changes are finally starting to be visible to the people that haven’t been slaving for hundreds of hours on this project. Just like it will take years of persistently investing wisely to see real progress in accumulating wealth.
Last weekend, after a grueling couple of days of building fence I was able to step back from being in the thick of the work and take a deep breath. I can look around and honestly say that our place is really coming along. The satisfaction and deep sense of accomplishment from tirelessly working on something for so long is truly gratifying.
Financial independence is a long-term plan
It got me thinking about how often I hear people say they need a financial overhaul, but much like our fixer-upper farm it is likely going to take a matter of years before that sense of relief and accomplishment will wash over them. It also isn’t something that’s going to make a great before and after photo like a home renovation.
More often than not, when people make comments like this to me it is followed by a defeating dismissal. Like all hope is lost or it’s not even possible.
The week our property was listed there were almost two dozen showings. The price was attractive, but work that was obviously involved was not. There were quite a few that past over the opportunity because they couldn’t see the potential beyond the dated finishes and the clean up required. They were blind to the potential.
Are you blind to your own savings potential?
People often feel this way about their finances. They just can’t see the path to changing the current situation. Failing to visualize how things COULD BE and only seeing the present state is very limiting.
When we purchased our place, we didn’t jump in blindly. Sure, we knew a bit about home improvements, but we consulted with professionals who knew a lot more about whether our time and money would be well spent. We asked for help in mapping out a path to building our dream.
It could be that you are looking at your finances as a fixer-upper the same way those other buyers were looking at our property. You can’t see past the work or you aren’t even sure where to start. There is almost always a path. It will probably take more time than you would like. There will be work involved and inevitable setbacks. Usually the things that are worth doing are never easy.
Whether it’s starting to prioritize saving for retirement later in life or wanting to get rid of your own “junk mountain” of debt, the grueling work will pay off. The time will pass anyway, and the sense of accomplishment when you can finally step back, take a breath, and see how far you’ve come is well worth it.