I firmly believe it is never too late in life to make today and tomorrow better. We have today and possibly the future to make things as good as possible. This starts with attitudes, choices and some luck. Here are a few areas to keep in mind to have as few regrets as possible:
1. Invest to help your future self
Imagine your older self. Really think about how you might look, feel, what you may be doing. That older self will need help and resources from your younger self. Think about your loved ones, children, etc. They may need a hand, we all do sometimes. The main benefit of this practice is to think about time and money in a holistic way. Think beyond the monkey brain that only desires instant in the moment gratification. An untrained mind will constantly discount the future and will be present moment biased.
This way of thinking will lead to more saving and investing. This is a main reason some experts suggest putting investing on autopilot. It’s the surest path to building wealth, have a percentage of income every paycheck removed automatically and placed in a low cost index fund. Just recently Fidelity announced no cost index funds.
2. Don’t compare with others, learn from them
Look to others not as comparing, but in the spirit of learning good or bad. Every time we compare ourselves to others and become jealous we tend to regret it for several reasons. We make ourselves feel bad because of some perceived injustice to our ego. And many times if we actually examine the other persons life closer we may discover that they had or have had challenges different than yours. It is just not worth the wasted energy. Our energy should be focused on improving our life and those around us the best we can. Learn from others as they may learn from you, that way we are all elevated. That is the wise and value added use of your finite energy.
3. Not taking certain opportunities
Every once in a while when we pursue new opportunities they actually are offered to us. Then we must make a choice to accept or not. Choices are complicated so I am not saying we must jump at every opportunity, but sometimes we should and our life expands in a whole new direction. Even if a person “falls”, we are usually content when we tried. Something inside may say try again and never give up. And we probably learned some known or unconscious lessons from the initial attempt.
4. Selling assets too quickly
When financial panics and crises hit asset values can plummet due to fear and job losses. But history has shown that these bad times do not last forever. The problem either gets solved or people get on with their lives. Our country has endured and survived all manner of man made and natural disasters. There is a time to sell, but think with a long term horizon in mind. I remember a guy telling me after the financial crises in 2008 he would not invest in stocks again. Stocks and market have gone up astronomically for 10 years straight, boy did he miss out on a huge opportunity!
Life can be complicated and not all choices are black and white. We sometimes have to live our lives in the grey areas. Keep in mind these ideas when making various financial and life decisions.