Build Your Life On A Rock
[Editors Note: This post was published on July 25, 2014]
“A wise man who builds his life on a rock will be able to withstand the rains and winds that come his way… a man that builds his life on sand will be blown over and washed away.”
When I think about the choices the average man faces when it comes to their money, health and family, I am often reminded of this passage from Matthew and the path that each face daily. In life we can choose to take the path that leads to health, wealth and long lasting relationships (the rock); or we can choose the path that leads to debt, a short life and divorce and despair (the sand). Now, I realize that there are complex factors that can lead to the second path even when making all of the right choices, but most often the man who makes wise, calculated choices in life will enjoy a much more fulfilling, long lasting life than the man who chooses to the second path.
Though the right choice seems easy, as Americans we are marketed and sold a path in life that looks nothing like a house built on a solid foundation. From birth we are taught that in order to be normal and live the American dream we must go to college at all costs, bury ourselves in student loans, go deep into credit card debt to build a credit score, buy new cars so that people will accept us, and buy a home as quickly as possible so that we can get a mortgage interest deduction. The mortgage interest deduction and the concept of the 30 year mortgage are crazy for many reasons, but I digress. Add to all of this the fact that our society has decided that it is better to take pills then to make hard choices about how we care of ourselves and it becomes clear why normal is broke, sick and out of shape.
It wasn’t until I reached my late 20s that I realized that following this approach to life is like trying to run while tied to a tree. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast in college, love Wild Turkey, and can’t get enough fast food; but, with the exception of the Wild Turkey, all the other things did was create a giant hole and a cholesterol problem that was costing me money, creating massive anxiety, and leaving my wife and I one medical bill or job loss away from losing everything (which is where the Wild Turkey helps out). Anyways, I firmly believe that life doesn't have to be this way, which is why I have started to follow the plan outlined below. I also continuously remind myself that if someone tells me that something is good for my body or my money, I should probably do the opposite.
Below is my plan for a life built on a rock (in order of importance)
1. Focus on the well being of my family before all else: Health and money both fade with time, but my marriage and family will always supply me with the love and motivation I need to keep moving.
2. Workout and eat well: Professional and financial successes are great, but what will it matter if I am immobile and chronically ill.
3. Pay off debt before all else including saving: With the exception of my emergency fund, I am completely focused on eliminating debt. Every dollar I pay off will save me thousands of dollars in interest and also reduce my overall stress level.
4. Eliminate my mortgage: Most financial professionals will tell you that this is bad, but that is because not one will make money from this strategy except you. For me, paying off my house will not only save me hundreds of thousands of dollars over my lifetime, but it will also help me sleep at night knowing I can lose my job, but not my home. Additionally, not having a mortgage will keep me from relying too heavily on a company for a pay check and also greatly improve my ability to pursue my dreams.
5. Learn to be content: Although I put this one last, it may be the most important. I know that if I continuously buy things I don’t need and chase a life built on fancy clothes, cocktails and gadgets, I will never find real happiness. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but they should be the reward for a life of solid choices, not the goal.
Although I encourage everyone to consider changing the way they live, we at Hold Fast the Iron are not investment or tax advisers. We are simply sharing our experiences and personal truths in order to get our readers to think differently about how to maximize their health and well being. That said, what we believe may not be best for your situation, so please seek advice from a licensed professional before adopting any strategy you read on our site.
Build your life on a rock and HOLD FAST!