Do you ever think about what you would do with a time machine?
Not like a for-real time machine, unless you know something about physics that I don’t, but more of a daydreaming, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” kind of time machine.
There’s the big stuff, obviously, in the context of History-with-a-capital-H, like righting the biggest mistakes of humankind, but you can’t seriously tell me that while you’re back in time fixing the world, you wouldn’t pick up some Apple stock in like, 1993.
Or while you’re at it, just go buy into the market as a whole in 1930.
It’s always easy to make those decisions in retrospect, since hellooooo, you would be sitting on a fortune of pretty epic proportions right now. And while yes, the buying-into-the-stock-market-during-the-Depression thing would have 100% required a time machine, there are definitely near-term examples that are easy to find as well – Apple, Tesla, etc.
If only I had bought those stocks and held onto them.
If only I knew then what I knew now.
If only I could go back 20 years.
Yes, 20 years ago was 100% the right time to have done the things you know would have made you rich today. But until we get this whole time-machine thing figured out, the second best time?
Is right now.
There are things you can do, today, that are just as big “easy ways to get rich” as going back 20 years and buying Apple stock. The only difference is, they’re entirely doable – they just take some time. These things are the ones that you-in-20-years is going to wish you had done this year.
Especially since, when you do them, you’ll realize how entirely not hard they really were.
And hey, wouldn’t you like to save future-you the hassle of being an early-stage time-machine adopter, just to come back to today and do some money stuff? Wait until that shit has been tested. New technology is risky.
Figure Out Your Money Goals
While I’m not a huge fan of bucket lists, now is the time to dream big – and there’s a reason I crossed out the money part of that title.
We’re here so that future-you doesn’t need to travel back in time to make you rich, right? So first things first, you need to figure out what rich means to you.
In my mind, rich is being able to do the things you love, with the people you love, when you want to do them. But that can look a lot different depending on what, specifically, those things you love are.
Personally, my version of happy involves lots of dogs – like, a lot of dogs – and a big open space for them to run around in. I’m only half-joking when I look at my retirement income in light of “How many dogs could I afford on this much money?”
Ok, I’m not even half-joking. That is literally my retirement savings metric.
But your rich could totally be different than my rich. Your rich could be travelling the world full-time, or eating at the best restaurants in the world, or driving a Range Rover, or taking your whole family on vacation, or having a whole lot of kids.
Whatever your rich is, that’s what you need to save for.
Start to Save for the Future
Notice how I didn’t say retirement?
I had an interesting conversation with a friend who didn’t believe in saving for retirement, and it brought up some points I hadn’t considered – mostly because, as you know, I believe that everyone should save for retirement.
But, that aside, you can frame it in a lot of different ways, and “being able to take care of yourself” – which is what I think of when I think of retirement – can look different depending on who you are and what you want.
You don’t have to plan on spending 30 years golfing in Florida to know that at some point in the future, you’ll want to do things. Maybe you want to have the flexibility to take two years off and travel the world, or launch your own business, or work part-time and not worry about the money stuff. Maybe you want to make a major contribution to a cause that matters to you, or have the time to volunteer with them directly. You might want to go back to school just for learning’s sake.
And yes, maybe you want to be able to stop working somewhere in the neighbourhood of 65 years old and not worry about money for the rest of your life. That’s valid too, whether or not you want to spend time in Florida.
Whatever your rich is, it’s going to cost money. How much money depends mostly on your plan, and how soon you want to make it happen, but the one constant is that yes, it will cost something.
The sooner you start saving for it, the better.
And if it’s more than 10 years away? There’s no better way to help yourself fund those Big Plans than by investing that money.
Invest Your Money
When you’re not investing, it can seem like the Last Big Money Hurdle. Like ok, I can switch to a no-fee chequing account all day long, but investing?
Ugh, nope, maybe tomorrow.
I know, because that was me a year ago.
Literally one year ago today, I had done everything on my get-your-money-shit-together checklist, with the huge exception of investing my RRSP and TFSA accounts in anything other than a pitiful 0.1% interest savings account. And when I finally did get around to it?
It was a piece of cake. Thanks Wealthsimple.
Don’t be like me. Don’t keep putting off investing.
Because future-you? Yeah, they’re sitting there, at their futuristic 20-years-from-now desk, and screaming at their supercomputer for you to start investing so they don’t have to come back in time and do it for you.
As a favour to future-you, I have something that might help with some of the things that are crossing your mind right now, like…
- But what if I lose money?
- How do I even figure out which investments are right for me?
- I don’t know what an ETF even is, halp.
Those types of questions are why investing seems like such a major hurdle, and why people – like yours truly one year ago – think of it as this massive Thing That Is Scary and Hard.
That’s why I created Zero to Investing Hero.
It’s a five-day email investing course that walks you through everything you need to know as a beginner investor – from why investing even matters, to how it’ll make you rich, to what the hell is the difference between a stock and a bond.
It’ll also help you avoid the one guaranteed way to lose money, and walk you through setting up a super-simple, DIY investing plan so you’re more than prepared to make investing decisions – or know how to talk to a professional about investing decisions, if that’s what’s right for you.
And the best part? It’s free.
Future-you will be so legitimately pissed off if you don’t even sign up to learn things about investing for free. I’m just saying.