Paving the Way

man walking in snow

During a recent snowstorm here in Chapel Hill, I was obliged to commute to work the old-fashioned way – by walking.  It was one of those storms where the roads weren’t an option due to snow and ice, and one where most folks decided to simply stay home.  That meant I would be one of the only “moving” things in the vast white landscape, and I’d likely still be one of the only people out when it came time to end my day after work.

I bundled up and headed out the door, freshly falling snow awaiting me as I made my way through Carolina Forest and then onto MLK Boulevard. Ten minutes into my walk, I noticed that I was simply trudging through the snow – not following any clear path. I questioned my technique and wondered if taking a more focused approach would produce better results. It occurred to me that if I planned properly and made some sacrifices on my way in, such as maintaining a straight path and clearing some snow as I walked, I would be setting myself up for a much easier walk home, since I’d be returning on the very same path at the end of the day.

In many ways, my trek into work was like the financial path we pave for ourselves: the steps we take today can help set us up for future success. That’s a simple, key tenet of building wealth.

If you’re just starting your wealth building journey – or even if you are in your peak earnings years – it’s important to ask yourself if you are optimally paving your long-term financial road.

Maybe it’s time to open that Roth IRA account and set up an automated mechanism to fund it monthly.  Maybe it’s time to defer more of your salary (or even the maximum allowable) into your 401k plan and go beyond the amount for which you receive a company match.  If you’re already maximizing contributions to your tax-deferred accounts, why not open and fund an after-tax investment account?

Just as my focused morning walk through the snow required discipline, your financial decisions will likely require some sacrifice. We each must evaluate our overall financial situation before moving forward.  But paving the way today often leads to great results down the road. This financial planning in advance and longer-term commitment will:

  1. Supercharge your asset growth and let you make the most of compounding.
  2. Provide you greater flexibility if you need or want to retire from your full-time job.
  3. Reduce your need to take excessive financial risk with your assets.

When it was time for me to head home and “retire,” I followed my previously paved path as I walked comfortably past 12-inch snow drifts that rose to my right and left, thankful that I had done the hard work earlier on.  Whether you’re starting your wealth building journey or are decades into it – contact us at Woodward Financial Advisors if you’d like to learn more about our services to help you build your wealth and make the most of your financial resources.

About Joseph Marques

Follow me on Twitter: @WFA_Joe
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