A Ruler or an Odometer, a Day or a Year?

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If you were going to travel by car from Connecticut to California, you would of course get a map, plan your course, plan your stops and estimate your total travel time. In estimating your travel time you will likely calculate how many miles you’ll travel, the number of hours you’ll drive daily and your average speed. Assuming your average travel speed is the speed limit of 65 mph (yeah, right) and the distance is 3,000 miles, you’ll be traveling for 46.15 hours. Now in those 3,000 miles there are 1,536,000 feet. What tool would you use to measure the distance, a ruler or an odometer? Well of course you would use the odometer! The prudent man would never use the ruler as a measuring tool- it would be a waste of time and energy.
You are on a similar journey, the financial journey of life, and likely tracking your progress with the wrong measuring instrument. The average person retires today at 65 years old and lives another 27 years in retirement. If you begin your working career at 22 that gives you 43 years of working days and 27 years of retirement days. That time period has 23,360 days in it. In measuring your progress towards your financial goals, would it be prudent to use the day or year as the measuring tool? I submit that most people use the day as the tool. Most of the population “watches” what the stock market does everyday. People worry if the market was up, down or sideways for the day. As if the day is going to have any meaningful impact on their future. What time period should you be using in measuring your progress towards your goals: the day or the year? Try using the year and enjoy your life interim.

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