Patience pays dividends

A lot of states are starting to reopen some of their businesses and other activities. This reopening will be done in stages to see how it impacts the number of coronavirus cases. Most people are anxious for this to happen sooner rather than later. I’m one of them, but we also need to be cautious and move slowly.

My wife and I are in our 70s, and, like most people our age, we have some underlying health issues. That puts us in the high risk category for this disease. We’ve stayed close to home during this pandemic. I go to the store for groceries and occasionally run out for some take-out, but that’s been about it. We take a drive once a week just to get out of the house. We’ve spent a lot of time reading and sitting on our back deck since this has all started.

Now that things are starting to reopen, we don’t plan to just run out and start doing things again. We want to take it slowly. We’ve avoided the coronavirus so far and don’t want to do something stupid now and have problems.

Being patient pays off in many ways. How many times does someone get “new car fever” and buy a car they can’t afford with payments for the next seven years? How often do people take out a home equity loan to do some remodeling and then struggle to keep their home in the next recession? How many people do you know who wanted a relationship so badly they settled for the first person who took an interest in them only to regret it later? How many people pulled their investments out when the stock market started to go down only to now realize that as it goes back up they have to buy back in at higher prices? This list could go on and on to cover just about every aspect of modern day life.

I should tell you that by nature I am not a patient person. I often say that I am a type AAA+ personality. I want things done yesterday, and this has got me in a lot of trouble in the past. I’ve had to force myself over the years to slow down and not rush into things. I am still learning patience and have a far way to go before graduating.

But, part of the lessons I’ve learned is that being patient pays big dividends. It keeps you out of debt because you’re not buying things you can’t afford. If you want something bad enough you save the money and pay cash for it. This alone frees up so many thing that keep most people tied down. Being patient helps you in your relationships. You enter into relationships with those people you’ve learned to trust, and you maintain those relationships despite minor glitches along the way. My wife and I have been married 53 years because we’ve learned to be patient with each other. Everyone has a bad day once in a while. Be patient with them.

Being patient means you don’t pull out your investments every time there is a blip in the market. If your investment has a good 10-year track record, chances are it will be good over the next years as well. If it doesn’t have a good 10-year track record you probably shouldn’t own it anyway.

I spent seven years earning my college degree. At the time, I was married, working full-time in a factory and pastoring a small church. Obviously, I was a part-time student. It might have taken me longer to finish school, but when I graduated I had zero student loan debt. I didn’t have to spend the next 20 years of my life paying back student loans. I did the same thing with two graduate degrees. Some people leave school with $100,000+ in student loan debt. For me, it was three degrees and zero debt because I paid for it as I went. My patience paid off big time.

I could tell you of many times when I wasn’t patient and just jumped in with both eyes closed. Those times ended in disasters that sometimes took years to recover from. As I said, I’ve had to learn patience. I wish I had learned it sooner.

We’ve all heard “Slow and steady wins the race,” but we often don’t live that motto. Learn to be patient. Take your time. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, at least right this moment. Study your options and move when it’s right for you. You will probably find your patience will pay you great dividends.

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