Apr 11

Patience is a Virtue… and an Art

Patience, in most religions and philosophies, is a virtue.  One can develop great mental strength through the practice of patience.  Patience can get you through difficult times and bad situations by keeping you grounded in the present instead of being enveloped in thoughts of the future – good or bad.  It is necessary to visit the future for planning purposes, but you need to live in the present or you will miss out on life.  The irony about patience is that it takes patience to develop patience.  Patience is an art that needs to be developed over time and practiced regularly to master.

Patience photo by soccerkid29 via Motifake.com


The best method to develop the art of patience is to keep yourself grounded in the present but working towards the future.  When you see your neighbor’s new car or the diplomas hanging on your bosses wall, you need to remind yourself that those things take time and you are perfectly fine where you are right now.  You have to find solace in the present before you can truly start living and slowly moving towards your goals.

Completing your degree

Whatever degree you are currently pursuing, its value is derived partly in the difficulty it is to earn it.  If all you had to do was shell out a few grand and that allowed you to add a Master’s degree to your resume, the perceived value of that degree would be diminished by those decision-makers that reviewed it.  Graduating from college or graduate school is partly a function of ones intelligence, but maybe more so a function of their patience.  There are no short cuts.  A semester is a semester and you need to painstakingly attend class after class, semester after semester until all requirements are crossed off the list and you graduate.  Patience is a pre-requisite for all college degrees.

Getting out of debt

Though he rubs me the wrong way, Dave Ramsey has helped many many people get out of debt.  I also don’t agree with his “no credit cards EVER” approach to life.  Regardless, his program offers the discipline that many people need to get out and stay out of debt forever and I can appreciate that.  Dave Ramsey employs what is called the “debt snowball plan”.  His plan calls for making minimum payments across the board.  With any extra cash, you consistently put that extra on the smallest debt first.  Once the smallest debt is paid off, you apply all that cash to the next smallest and so on and so forth.  Its a simple plan, but it takes years.  Discipline is necessary, but so is patience.  You have to stay with the plan and be content with the slow roll of the snowball as it builds up through the years.

Growing Your Investments

When I was younger, I was always looking for the get rich quick investment.  What I was actually doing was gambling… and losing.  No I do extensive analysis and look for the biggest and most steady growers I can find.  In my opinion these investments are the closest thing to a sure thing outside of U.S. Government debt (which may be less of a sure thing in the future).  The most powerful investments take into account the slow accumulating magic of compounding – and those are the investments I put my money into now.  I can now calculate exactly when I will be rich instead of throwing my money in the hot idea.  There are a couple of caveats to my method though.  I need the patience to let the slow power of compounding work and I need the health to be around for that date when I calculated I will be rich!

Finding a Significant other

There is no easy way to meet the love of your life.  Its really just a numbers game.  The more people you meet the more you will date.  The more you date the better your chances of meeting the one.  You can do things to increase the number of people you meet.  This can be accomplished through sifting through vast online profiles of singles or these speed dating events.  Other than that you just need to have an endless supply of patience and learn to be happy right here and right now.

Keeping up with the Jones’

The Jones’ are my mortal enemies.  They live on every street in America and have the best toys.  Before I developed the art of patience, I would be upset each time one of the Jones’ brought home something really cool that I wanted.  Now I still like to check out their new purchases and might decide that I want to save up for something like that in the future, but I have at peace with my life and what I have.

Practice the art of being patient every day by living in the present and being content to do so.  Allow the feelings of being at peace with where you are and who you are to ensure that you are becoming more patient.  The next time you to the Jones’ as a patient person, you will feel good when you can enjoy other people’s successes with them and not harbor any feelings of resentment at the same time.  If you continue to work toward your goals, you will eventually get there.  Just value each day of your life the same whether you have reached your goal to become a millionaire or if you are falling short.

picture via picturesdepot.com


Jan 11

The Rolex Dilemma

I recently had a conversation with a friend about his impending Rolex purchase. He had the money saved up for the watch, but was not sure if he should buy it. This guy has always been a “watch guy” and he has progressively climbed the watch ladder to a point were a Rolex was the logical next rung.

“Watch guys” are guys that see value in having a status symbol on their wrist that costs more than a lot of people’s cars. The timepiece in question was a Rolex Submariner and the price tag was around $5,000. Just because this guy had an ING savings account dedicated to this goal and had managed to save the cash, had no debt and lived generally frugally, does that automatically mean he should pull the trigger on the Rolex?

Rolex photo by hypo.physe via Flickr Creative Commons

I am not a watch guy. The thought of shelling out that much money for a watch that will provide me no benefit but to tell the time, gives me a mini panic attack. I have a Seiko. A fine Japanese timepiece that has always let me know what time it was and even provided the added benefit of showing the date – all for $200! Watch guys laugh at my ignorance. I can scrounge up the money for a Rolex if I wanted one. I could delve into savings; move some investments around – whatever it took.

I cannot help but to run through all the possible uses for that cash besides a watch. I should note that I do have a problem spending in general. I am more comfortable leaving cash in investments. Once in a while I can talk myself into buying something if I can somehow contort my thoughts of the purchase into thinking that it was an actual investment.

My thoughts turn back to the conversation with my friend and how he systematically laid out all the benefits of a Rolex. He stated enthusiastically how this watch is something you can leave to your kids or grandkids. He adoringly flipped through webpage after webpage of happy watch guys enjoying their Rolex’s with their beautiful families and requisite Labrador glaring adoringly at his master. He went through the technical specifications and I now know that if he ever happened to be diving with his Rolex, the watch is rated to a depth of 1000 feet. The presentation was very compelling, but I am not a watch guy.

It did not seem like a good use of the cash he worked hard for and sacrificed to save. He makes a good living, but I could not see spending this type of money for a watch unless I was up in $750,000 range.

That’s me though and I am not a watch guy (did I mention that?)

He is a watch guy and he sees great value in the Rolex. It makes him happy to let it slightly peek out of his shirt cuff. He can even make a persuasive argument that the Rolex is an actual investment. I am not tempted to go out and buy a Rolex and I honestly highly doubt I will ever be.

I believe we need to reward ourselves in life. We work hard, save and invest and as long as we save with a purchase and have no debt we should give ourselves rewards to keep life interesting. I think that for most moderate income people, big ticket splurges should be narrowed to the few areas that we really enjoy. A Rolex for the “watch guy,” but not a Rolex and a Porsche as the Porsche is designated for the “car guy.”

It’s important that you figure out what kind of “guy” or “girl” you are so you don’t end up splurging on items that you are only going to enjoy in the fleeting moment. Just because you have enough to purchase the Rolex in your bank account does not imply in any way what-so-ever that the purchase is anywhere approaching the realm of practical. A Rolex is not sensible and never will be. However, if it’s a reward for living sensibly and you are sure you are a “watch guy” then it is acceptable. I suppose.