Sayings we Say

I’m sure most of you have proverbial phrases, quips, idioms and sayings you mention from time to time.  Some are passed down from parents, relatives or friends, a book, or emerge in popular culture.   No matter the source, those that have stood the test of time do so for a reason – they resonate and reflect a shared reality.   

As barnacles attach to the haul of a ship, so to have a handful of phrases stuck with me that I still mention to my kids from time to time.  May they gain perch in their minds.  Time will tell. 

Fail Fabulously!   Not my quip.  But I knew immediately when I heard it what the person meant.  Get out there; live life; take chances; from your failures you will gain the most. The bigger the fail, the greater the growth.  Many, I believe, think “to fail” denotes a negative experience or outcome.  Not so.  Failure is nothing more than a learning experience.   Learning is good.        

The harder you work now, the easier your life will be later.   Not sure where or how I came up with this or if it should be credited to another?  What it means to me as I expressed it to my kids is through hard work when you are younger (K-12, College) will directly result in a richer, more successful career, from a foundation of educational excellence, volunteering, and taking on difficult challenges such as attending college.   Avoid achievement and most likely your life will be difficult forever.  A simplified example: a commercial airline pilot.  Getting to the left seat (the captain) takes years of dedication, but once there, according to my brother-in-law, an airline pilot, “99% of the time the job is a breeze as the aircraft practically flies itself.”  

Does money control you, or do you control money?  Nothing complicated about understanding this.  Yet, this is a vitally important principle.   Sadly, millions of our fellow citizens are controlled by money, living paycheck to paycheck, left to forces seemingly beyond their control and subject to the money master.  Many reasons for this from not saving to living beyond one’s means to keep up with the neighbor down the street.       

Know the rule of 72!  Stick with me. I came across this when reading one of the many of the books authored by John Bogel.  “John Bogel?  Who’s that?”  Sacré bleu!  John is one of my heroes.   He brought low cost, index mutual fund investing to the masses through the Vanguard Company he created. 

The rule is a simple way to convey the power of compound interest, the magic of stock investing.  Here is how it works.  You assume the rate of return is constant for your investment.  Presume it gains 10% in value every year.   Divide 10 (for 10%) into 72; that equals 7.2.  7.2 is how many years it will take to double your investment.  Invest $100 today and in 7.2 years it will be worth $200 at a 10% rate of return.  10% annually is close to what the entire US stock performance has accomplished for the last 100 years or so.  

The key insight here is to invest as early and often as possible, when you are young, as this will give the investment more time to double and double and double.  Over 42 years, assuming your investment doubles every 7.2 years, results in doubling approx. 6 times (42/7 = 6).  At 18 years of age, let’s say you invested $10K in the stock market.  Over the next 42 years at the ripe old age of 60, it will have doubled 6 times.  $10K became 20K, 40K, 80K, 160K, 320K to the last doubling, $640K! 

I hope you found some of this useful.  Thx for the read.  Comments always welcome. 

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