Late Starter

I need a Scoreboard

Late starter journey - I need a scoreboard

Hey, it’s me again. the Journey-Man

I’ve been thinking about the scoreboard.

I spent some time this week looking back to make sure that I haven’t forgotten (or ignored) any of the valuable lessons I have learnt. To be frank, I’ll probably need to re-cap every week because, as it turns out, I forget things pretty easily. I ‘m sure it’s not just me though.

So I decided that a good way to keep track of things was to set up a scoreboard!

Why keep score?

Throughout my life I’ve had seasons of growth and success, and then seasons of anguish and loss. It’s usually during the tough seasons that I start to believe that ‘this is how it will be from now on‘. I also tend to do that when times are good. But the reality is that life is seasonal, there are good times and bad times and my measure of success should (must/will) be over the long-term rather than the short-term.

It’s like watching the stock-market!

I have an Easy-Equities account (which I am passionate about so I will be writing about in a future post, keep watching this space) and I was using their site to look at the Apple Inc share price. I can look at the share price over the last month, three months (we will call that the short-term), six months or twelve months (we will call that the long-term – I know that one year is not long term but I’m sure you get the gist). If I look at the short-term, the graph is scary and I am not sure that this is the place to be investing. There’s a negative return for the month. Money lost!

And then I start looking at the longer-term and the long-term and the picture changes considerably. As I look at the graph I can see the ups and downs, the gains and losses, money-gained and money lost – but the bigger picture shows the upward trend. Today may look bad, but things are actually moving in the right direction.

Here are the two graphs I had a look at today.

Apple company stock history graph
Apple company stock history graph

 

I’m not going to get into the real value of the stock, the real value of the investment or the fact that it could be zero tomorrow! I think that we all understand that. The point of the exercise is to realise that life is seasonal, yes – but we need to make sure we are seeing the upward trend when it is there.

A Progress Bar?

To do this we need to be taking note and keeping score. We may need to have some sort of progress-bar for our finances. We need to be able to look at our short-term as just that, the short-term (a place where we can make changes and learn so that we can positively affect the long-term now).

And so I have set up my (first) scoreboard for the next 36 Months. Using what I have learnt over the past month (yes it’s only been a month), I worked out that I need a ‘small’/er emergency fund (a rainy-day fund) as a starter and I will need to set a goal for that fund and I will then need to track that goal.

I urgently need to deal with debt (aggressively). After debt surgery a bigger emergency fund will be required (this will be the smaller one that I will add to once I have sorted out my debts) and then I need to start saving. I have come to understand that unless I follow a process that can take me from small savings to big debt cuts and to reduced spending, I will never pull out of the downward spiral.

My Scoreboard

So here is my scoreboard for the next three years. And this is Month 1. I will be sharing my progress each month so that you can see my ups-and-downs (and hopefully also learn from them).

 

Late Starter Journey Scoreboard

 

Maybe this isn’t for you

I am sure many of you already know and get all of this. It may seem naive and perhaps childish.

As late-starters we are older and so, supposedly wiser. I really don’t mind if this is all old-hat to you. But if it is I would also suppose that you have no debt problems and no savings issues. You are living a care-free life in the fast-lane. If that is the case then you can give me some insight (I would gladly take your advice on-board).

But I speak to so many people my age (and younger and older) who have money problems. I see so many people wasting good (now) money and living (now) lives they can neither afford or sustain. For many I suppose the current salary or credit card is keeping harsh reality at bay. I am speaking to those people. People who are willing to take a look at reality. People who can see that short-term isn’t long-term and that there is indeed time to start. Even if we start late.

Scoreboard Tasks and Goals for the Month

I am going to be working hard this month to make sure that I head off in the right direction. As quickly as possible. My journey has started late so I have no time to waste – and neither do you. I want to make these next three years count. I want to make radical change and I want to break through. The knowledge that I am picking up is extremely valuable and needs to be shared. I want to teach my kids along the way. I want them to be early starters (also something we are working on at WellSpent).

My goals, included on the scoreboard are:-

  • Set up my first emergency fund
  • Spend less
  • Fully understand my debts
  • Keep learning

I will be sharing my experiences about all of these as we journey together. I am so excited about what’s ahead that I want to share these ups (and downs). As we journey together I will be writing articles on each subject, so keep up and keep following.

The late-starter journey has really begun!

If you would like to start from the beginning, you can start the Late-Starter Journey here.

Until next time,

 

Journey-Man

 

PS. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and information and remember that if you need professional financial advice you should find it. We are not providing financial advice in our articles.

 

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