Be the Tortoise–Patience in Finances

Finance 2If there’s one thing that’s hard to learn, it’s patience. I even remember a time when I realized how impatient I was being and how I decided I wanted to change my attitude. The funny thing was the first thought I had after that realization: “Okay, I want to be more patient. How can I learn to be patient as quickly as possible?”

I laughed at myself when I realized how ironic that thought was, but I think it’s a common thing that we live through—it’s human nature. It’s normal to want to see results immediately: it can be really encouraging to see a positive outcome happen quickly because of a choice you made. It helps provide motivation for similarly healthy choices in the future.

The problem is, some of the most important things in life take a long time to show major results. Our relationships with others, our health, our education, and our finances—all of these things require a long-term commitment in order to grow. We might see some benefits rather quickly, but we won’t achieve our end goal until quite a while after we start.

Just like we can’t expect to suddenly be in perfect shape once we start exercising, we can’t expect to have enough money to retire as soon as we start saving. Patient accumulation of savings has to be a habit that we develop, not an occasional worry-fueled expense. We have to recognize that we’re building up our future financial security—just like patient and diligent exercise will build up our future physical health. It’s difficult, but we need to learn that, when it comes to things like this, “slow and steady” really is the way to go.


—Sam Watson, Editor, Stance