Investing in stocks, bonds, 401ks, IRAs, and other avenues is extremely important for long term financial health. When we contribute to these accounts we have assurance that our money will grow and be there to support us when we need it most. It requires patience, and more importantly, foresight and intention when there are many immediate ways to spend our money.
I had the incredible fortune of traveling to the Redwoods with my family this past month. We hiked below these giant old growth trees and I was struck with gratitude for those who had the foresight to preserve what remained of those old growth trees so that we, and millions of others, could be surrounded in a wild and magical forest that could easily have disappeared years ago.
My children are rapidly growing. There are many, many things pulling all of us in a myriad of directions: self-employment, friends, activities, school, commitments, and household upkeep. It is a tremendous amount of work to go on vacation, particularly a 10 day camping adventure. Each year we have so many other commitments to family and friends that going away as our own family feels taxing both financially and practically. But this year we made the investment: of time, energy, and money. It is an investment that has shown its returns already, and I know will continue to weave dividends into our family life forever. I am realizing that our time as a family of four is very limited. We need to consciously preserve what we have so that it continues to grow and is there to support us when we need it most.
I am grateful to a dear friend for reminding me to make a family trip a priority, the same way I remind my clients. There is a very clear reason this financial approach distinguishes “Vacation” from “Vacation with Extended Family”. There is a significant difference. It doesn’t have to be fancy, though it certainly could be. The key ingredient is that we were together, on an adventure, away from all that can pull our attention away from the present moment. There may have been arguments and frustrations. There were certainly special relaxed moments of discovery, wonder, laughing, and silliness. Something magical happens when we surrender to being present with those we love. Whether you have a young family or not, take a moment to take stock of what may be important to invest in right now.
I am grateful to have made the investment.