At the end of 2015, I set the goal of reading a different book every week of the upcoming year. If I was successful, I would read 52 different books over the course of 2016.
Fast forward to the end of 2016 and I surprisingly had completed the tall task. For a brief moment in time, I was proud of myself and the accomplishment, until one question from a friend changed that.
She simply asked, “What was your favorite lesson learned from all the books you read this year?”
At that moment, panic set in. Not only could I not remember what my favorite lesson was, I couldn’t remember a single thing that I had learned from any of the books I had read that year. I had been so focused on checking the box of reading a book each week that I forgot to take the time to enjoy them and learn from them. I had bought into the lie that quantity is better than quality.
While I may not have learned a lesson from any of the 52 books I read, I did learn a big lesson from the experience - I would have been better off to slow the intensity of my reading pace and increase the quality of my retention. This principle of slowing the intensity and increasing the quality can be applied to many areas in life, even in personal finance and investing.
Over the past decade, the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) has gained a foothold in our culture. This strategy encourages young people to save up to 75% of their income so that they can retire very early in life. What most people don’t realize about this movement is that saving so much money so quickly normally has a very negative impact on those who participate. One of two things can happen to these people, they either become so brainwashed by saving all their money that they forget what it feels like to spend money, or they get so focused on retiring early that the journey to get to that point is miserable. Often these people would have been better off over the long run to slow the intensity of their savings and increase the quality of their life, even if it meant that they had to retire a few years later.
Reading, saving, and financial independence, are all very good things to pursue, but even good things can become unhealthy when the intensity gets ramped up too much. At PYA Waltman, our approach to financial planning centers around helping you find the balance between setting realistic goals and living your best life now. Our values-based approach to financial planning helps us understand who you are and what is important to you, so that we can help you set realistic goals that fit your life.
The opinions expressed are those of PYAW’s Investment Team. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward looking statements cannot be guaranteed.
PYA Waltman Capital, LLC (“PYAW”) is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about PYAW’s investment advisory services can be found in its Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. PYA-22-13
PYA Waltman Capital, LLC
1402 Ebenezer Road