As always I was perusing my favorite personal finance blog (and likely the most popular on the net, from where I’m sitting), and came across a great post about how building your financial portfolio properly is very similar to building a house.
This echoed with me quite a bit because I’ve always said that a castle represents everything that I want financially (hence the name!). I want security, the ability to absorb unexpected expenses with little to no stress, much like a moat and parapets help a castle’s inhabitants sleep at night with guarded defenses.
Castles were also the symbol of strength in their time. They were fortresses, impenetrable, standing throughout the ages and while they crumbled and worn over time, they did not fall. My finances will eventually have to stand up to a similar test. Your retirement will be funded by the foundations you are building right now but diligently saving in your 401k/IRA retirement plans. Build it properly, given time and resources, and you will live out your later years in happiness and comfort. Build it poorly, or rush it’s construction too late, and you will have a flimsy structure likely to fall if conditions are bad enough.
Saving now is not just stuffing money into a mattress that pays interest, it is paying for a piece of mind. Emergency funds mean you can sleep easy at night even if you are sick and have a doctor’s visit the next morning with hefty co-pays. A sizeable nest-egg lets you worry less about what the future will bring, because you’ve done what was needed to get to the end of your journey in life.
So many people I know are always high-strung, always worried about the next disaster looming around every corner. There’s always too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Does it have to be this way? The answer is no. Prepare yourself for the coming storms as best you can. Disasters happen, catastrophes are unavoidable, but only you can help to lessen the blows they deal.
In the end, time is the only tangible luxury we have.