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5 lessons cross country taught me about financial independence

 

Guest post from Brother FI – Brotherly Advice on Life and Money

 

 

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Back in 2003 during my senior year of high school I ran my personal best 5K (3.1 miles) in 17:21.

 

That wasn’t nearly as fast as some of my peers, but you can bet I was still proud of that time. I was proud, because I remember joining the cross country team as a freshman and running 2 miles in a little over 15 minutes. No, that’s not a typo. Interestingly though, some of the greatest lessons in life for me have come from running.

Cross country taught me the power of teamwork and individuality at the same time. Cross country taught me to persevere and dig deep within myself for that last bit of strength whenever I felt like giving up or settling for mediocre. As I’ve started this path to financial independence I think back to some of the ways cross country prepared me to handle my personal finance without even knowing it.

 

Financial independence at your own pace

 

It’s true that personal finance is personal. When I joined the cross country team I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought running a really long distance would be as simple as that. Nope! There was more to cross country than simply running and I realized it would take time for me to be a decent runner. I couldn’t compare myself to the faster runners. I had to practice and train at my own pace and build from there.

dig deep within myself for that last bit of strength whenever I felt like giving up or settling for mediocre

Personal finance is the same way. What works for me may not work for you and that is something we all have to remember when it comes to saving, investing and spending. My rules for investing are my rules and even if you decide to follow them I recommend you develop some rules of your own.  Save, invest and spend at your own pace as you journey on the path to financial independence.

 

Teamwork and community

 

As much as cross country is an individual sport, it’s also a team sport. The team’s performance and ranking at meets depends on the collective performance of the top five runners. So, to win races our top runners would need to train and practice together. I can still remember being challenged by the fastest runner in our school whenever we would practice.

We would all have dinners together and special races called “Invitationals” that only us top runners would be able to go to. Being a part of the ChooseFI community has been a great experience for me.

This community has been a profound contributing factor to helping me get on the path to financial independence

This community has been a profound contributing factor to helping me get on the path to financial independence and having an early retirement as an option.

You need community so get plugged in where you can unashamedly ask “dumb” questions about money and get helpful answers. The ChooseFI Facebook group is an awesome community I am a part of and recommend to anyone.

 

Weather the storms

 

When running in the fall season you typically get exposed to all kinds of weather. And in Atlanta, Ga you can pretty much guarantee rain, shine and everything else in between.

Finances are the same. You’re going to experience all kinds of different financial storms. Don’t be afraid.

I had to learn to run in the rain and in the same way I am learning to handle any outside factors that can affect my path to financial independence.

You’re going to experience all kinds of different financial storms. Don’t be afraid.

Try to find simple ways to win win with money. When it rains outside all you need is an umbrella to be safe. You will face some sort of financial storms like stock market crashes, personal emergencies, and even low income periods. Being prepared for the bear market storms will help you enjoy the bull market good times.

 

Find the right coach

 

Running cross country is very much about form and technique as it is about strength and endurance. I had no form or technique when I started my running career in high school.

Thankfully, I had one of my greatest mentors in life who was also my cross country coach. He was a man of integrity and always made sure we stayed diligent with our practices and training. I look back and realize he really coached us to be great runners.

You need a coach to help you along your path to financial independence. Try to find someone who is honest. When it comes to money this can be hard.

This is why you have to research professional advisors before you pay them. This is your money and future and you need to make sure whoever you pay for advice better be worth it.

 

Keep learning, keep improving

 

One lesson I have carried with me is to keep learning and keep improving in all that I do. I didn’t start out as a fast runner, but by my final season I was one of the top runners in the school and county.

With finances you have to keep learning and improving daily. Whether it’s information about investing or taxes, I encourage you to continue to read and learn all you can so that you can improve.

 

 

Ready to become financially independent?

 

  1. Sign up for your FREE Personal Capital account and start tracking your net worth. It’s what I use and happily recommend to you.
  2. Download this FREE spreadsheet that I use to budget our money and expenses each month.
  3. Listen and subscribe to the BrotherFI podcast on your favorite podcast player.
  4. Don’t forget to subscribe to the BrotherFI newsletter and receive your FREE financial independence checklist.

 

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