Patience is a concept that is easier said than done. In all parts of life there are times when it is key to practice patience. This is a skill that is learned from an early age and later extends throughout all stages in life. It is part of human nature to want certain things in life NOW. Why would anyone want to wait to take that dream vacation or purchase a new vehicle?
All things equal we would be better served consuming something today because tomorrow is never promised. However most of us will learn that if you consume all your resources today tomorrow never becomes easier and if you over consume your resources today (using debt) tomorrow becomes even more difficult than the day prior. Therefore, a rational person who is looking to better their life is better served finding the healthy balance that works for them.
Patience and investing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most likely you have heard statements like this from either your parents, grandparents, or those who have been around the block.
“If I had only held onto those shares I could have put my kids through college!”
“I should have never sold that house, it’s worth so much now!”
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and nothing is guaranteed, but in general practicing patience in life tends to leave to long term rewards. In investing this cannot be understated. You most likely believe Warren Buffett’s investing advice more than mine so take in a few of his quotes below on the subject.
“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.”
“Successful investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
Steps To Practice Patience:
Reward yourself along the way.
Once you understand that patience and time will lead you to investing success it is important to set up systems that reward your patience along the way. Don’t be the person yelling YOLO until you burn out one day. Instead practice patience in your overall life and yell YOLO when it is time to reward yourself along the way. Figure out what your next big goal is. Maybe it is to pay off your student loans, save for a down payment on a home, or start seriously investing. Once you determine what it is you are saving for get into the numbers. Set a goal that is both realistic but also a challenge, avoid making it easy on yourself. Then put a time limit on how long you will take to reach it, this could vary depending on the mountain you are climbing. Then based on your own personality and your own level of patience chop up your goal into percentiles, for example if you are paying off 20K in debt maybe you chop it into ¼ or 5K for each milestone. Then set it up like a football game after the first 5K you take a break and use some money to splurge on something fun. At 10K and 15K you reward yourself a bit more depending on how long you have been saving. And finally set up a nice reward at the end of the journey and do it, go on a trip with your friends instead of making the debt payments because…. you don’t have a payment anymore! Make sure to then get started on your next goal so you can put your new-found cash to work after you reward yourself for a job well done.
Tune out the noise.
Along your journey you will 100% have “noise” that will tempt you to change your plan. This I would argue is more difficult than it has ever been. Before social media people would see friends out and about and maybe notice they have a new car, or hear about a nice vacation they went on. This would then make them jealous and soon they too would feel they needed a car or vacation. Well now it happens virtually every time you open an app on your phone. There are over 7 billion people in the world someone is ALWAYS going on vacation or buying a new car. You will never escape it unless you either don’t tune in every day or have the smarts to realize that everyone is on a different step in their journey and someone else’s life has nothing to do with you.
You also will most likely have friends and family trying to influence you to live one way or another. Most of the time this is all with great intentions because your friends and family want whatever is best for you. Just remember that if you do your homework on how to build wealth and stick to the plan you can be confident and avoid unsolicited advice that can negatively impact your plan.
Stop obsessing over your investments.
If you get started early and are working hard towards achieving your goals you will ultimately come to a point in your life where your investments really start to add up. This is exciting and a great feeling but there is an addiction to this. You can easily get caught up in watching daily fluctuations in the market some days will be exciting watching your portfolio move more then you made that day at work others will be nerve racking watching the market correct. The best way to avoid this is to only check in on your investments at set intervals. You can decide what is right for you but in general I think once a quarter is a good approach, you can re-balance your asset allocation if necessary and then get back to focusing on life for the other 89 days of the quarter! This also will have a positive impact on your returns because you will not be tempted to trade or change your strategy based on whatever the news of the market may be day to day. This will help you stick to your plan and be patient while your money goes out and earns more money.
Practice patience and you will reap the rewards! Start to learn patience now and always be working on it as we all will be challenged in life along the way.
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago…” – Warren Buffett
What are your thoughts?
- How do you practice patience?
- What helps you tune out the noise and stay focused?
- Do you have any stories of patience paying off for family or friends that may be older?