I stood in the rain with thousands of people and wondered what we were all doing here. Why would we choose to stand in the rain for hours on end?
But as I watched these elite athletes run past me at the Boston Marathon, I felt inspired. Yes, they were wet and exhausted. But they knew they had participated in something amazing. They finished the Boston Marathon.
And then I saw my husband run up heartbreak hill and I cheered more enthusiastically than a college freshman at a BYU football game. What an amazing accomplishment!
My husband has trained for years to get to this point. And, this week, he finally achieved his goal. The look of pure exhaustion on his face after he finished the race was proof that he gave it his all. And he knew it was worth it.
Achieving financial freedom is a marathon
I don’t understand how people can run 26.2 miles – especially in 2 hours and 39 minutes like Desiree Linden who became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years.
I’ve run a few half marathons and feel very satisfied with the fact that I am still alive after doing so. But, when more than 30,000 people run this grueling race year after year, I start to wonder if I’m missing out.
In our own way, however, we are each running a marathon in life. Every day, we take one step closer to our financial freedom. Sometimes it can seem like a daunting task. But each step we take towards financial freedom is one step closer to achieving our goals.
12 steps to take toward reaching your goal
You can’t achieve financial freedom in one giant step. It takes a lot of little steps to achieve your goals. The journey to financial freedom begins with paying your bills and saving a small percentage from each paycheck.
Budgeting wealth is a marathon, not a sprint. – Dave Ramsey
In a typical marathon, there are aid stations every two miles, with a total of 12 aid stations. So here are twelve steps you may need to take to reach your financial freedom finish line:
1. Decide to get out of debt
The hardest step is always the first one. Financial marathons aren’t easy, so you can’t run it half-heartedly. Decide now that you want to get out of debt and start running.
2. Start a budget
If you want to control your money, you need to know where it is going. Creating a budget will help you see where you can cut expenses and take control of your finances.
3. Cut expenses
Go through your budget and decide what you can cut back on. You might be spending more money than you need to on insurance rates or your cable bill.
4. Pay off bills
Once you’ve created a budget and cut expenses, you should have a little extra to put towards paying off bills. Start paying off one bill at a time, taking one step at a time, until you’ve paid off your credit cards and loans.
5. Create an emergency fund
A lot of marathon runners like to carry an extra Gu or water bottle with them to help them if they “hit a wall.” An emergency fund will help you if you ever run into an unforeseen crisis like medical bills or a job loss.
6. Invest in food storage
Runners need to carb-load before a race to store up energy. We should prepare for our marathon by storing up food.
The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program.” President Gordon B. Hinckley
7. Pay your tithing
Malachi 3:10 promises that when we pay our tithing the Lord will open “the windows of heaven, and pour [them] out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Paying your tithing will bless you temporally and spiritually. Paying tithing also helps us gain humility and gratitude.
8. Create a plan
Where would you like to be financially in five years? Write down your goals and refer to them as inspiration to what you can achieve.
9. Don’t buy stuff you cannot afford
I love the SNL skit where the married couple learns that they shouldn’t buy stuff they can’t afford. It’s a concept that’s beyond their grasp. Yet, it’s so simple. If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it.
10. Invest in your retirement
As you set your sights on the finish line, it’s time to think about your retirement. What will you do after you cross the finish line? Invest at least 15% of your household income into your 401k, IRA, and other retirement funds.
11. Create a college fund
With your own financial security running smoothly by now, it’s time to start thinking about your children’s future. A
college fund can help your children gain a step up in achieving their own financial freedom.
12. Pay off your home early
You’re finally in the home stretch and it’s time to focus on your largest debt: your mortgage. Just think of the money you could invest in yourself when you no longer have mortgage payments!
My husband tells me that running a marathon is like a journey. He remembers every uphill climb and downhill stretch, each blister and every milestone reached. He remembers it all in one long hard, yet ama
zing, journey. Each step along his journey was difficult, but he persevered and kept going – one step at a time.
The longest journey begins with a single step. So, let’s start running towards our financial freedom today.