Running Hills

Brett S. Miller, CPA, CFP® | Partner | Wealth Advisor

Seriously?  Why would anyone willingly choose to run UP a hill?  The sudden burst of extra effort, a shortened stride and quickened cadence, leaning forward with your breath and heart rate accelerating.  Why run hills when you can take an easier route, staying flat or avoiding running altogether? 

Ask any seasoned runner, and they will share with you that running hills has nothing to do with the ascent…  that part is always difficult.  Yet, many runners secretly love hills because of what happens when they get to the top.  It is about celebrating the moment when you reach the crest and the sudden burst of endorphins created by an important, short-term accomplishment that builds confidence for what lies ahead.  It is the deep exhale as you relax for the next stage of the journey.  You feel your heart rate slow, start to smile, and enjoy the simple pleasure of running.

While you may not be a runner (and that’s okay), the sensation of running hills closely resembles the recurring action of saving for your financial future.  In full disclosure, I have yet to meet anyone who specifically enjoys the physical act of saving.  How many times have you procrastinated on sending in a contribution or simply repurposed your allocated savings in lieu of something else?  Establishing automatic, recurring drafts has helped to reduce some of the stress and mental anguish of manual savings, but the intentional act of depriving ourselves of a present want in exchange for a future benefit is a difficult behavior for even the most disciplined to overcome.

For those who engage in a cadence of recurring saving, the endorphins created by the act of delayed gratification quickly compound.  Each contribution creates an important, short-term accomplishment that builds financial confidence for what lies ahead.  Your stress level goes down as you relax and can better enjoy the present knowing you have sacrificed to better prepare for the future.  Regular savings creates a recurring sense of accomplishment, and from my observation results in a higher level of satisfaction in our daily lives.

So instead of avoiding the “hills” in our financial preparations, perhaps we should change our mindset to charge at them instead.  If you can make it over the first hill and find your rhythm, the benefits of prudent financial decisions start to quickly compound.



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