Life in the Financial Fast Lane?

Smart people will tell you that the good things in life will just never come quickly or easily. When it comes to things like relationships, careers, fitness, and money, for example, those who are able to achieve the best results are usually the ones among us that are the most patient.

When it comes to your finances, you want to get in the fast lane to overnight success. But it's more important to know where you're going and how to get there.

Overnight success just doesn’t happen for everyone and that is even more so when it comes to your finances and financial well-being.

Of course, this makes sense, since if that wasn’t true, life would be way too easy and you wouldn’t have to work very hard for it. It would also mean everyone would be in a really great financial position in their lives and be traveling in the “financial fast lane”. Take a quick look around and you’ll see the reality of that. It just doesn’t happen that way for an awful lot of people.

When it comes to finances, you might have the knowledge and ability to make some things go much faster, but that is definitely the exception and not the rule. So ask yourself this question please: “Is it really possible to get on the financial fast lane in life and put you in a position to get that checkered flag at the finish line?”

What About the Economy?

Until recently, Americans simply just didn’t feel very good about our economy. We had all been experiencing very slow economic growth for about a decade when it came to earning better salaries (dating back to the 2008 great recession). You can say it has now changed for a number of reasons, even giving President Trump and his economic strategy some of the credit (as he does almost every day), or you can chalk it up to a cycle where economies just live and say it just is the “time of the season”.

But whatever the reason is, the past several months we finally started to see personal salaries grow again and for many of us, it’s about time!

Think of Your Financial Quest As If You Are Driving a Car

The economic highway is always chancy and that’s especially true in the financial fast lane. It often appears that when you’re cruising along looking through the front windshield of the car as you drive that the road ahead appears to be jammed and backed up. Like now, when the escalating tit-for-tat tariffs threaten to force the economy to swerve out of the fast lane and wind up in a ditch somewhere along the side of the road. That sounds scary, doesn’t it?

Just like when you were young and first started out driving (either the real roads or the highways of life), you were probably taking things slowly and making sure you knew what and where you were going with some degree of certainty. Taking risks isn’t a good idea at this point, if for no other reason than you lack the experiences to deal with having to swerve and avoid the ditches you will come up against.

It’s like this: if I were a new driver today, I’d map out any trip I was planning to take with my computer or use my GPS when I got behind the wheel. It gives me my literal road map of how to get where I am going. In the old days, it was the fold up (and never to be refolded again!) Rand McNally map I would have recommended. But seriously, do you ever use one of those anymore? By the way, don’t feel too bad for Rand and McNally. They have moved on to the GPS and computer thing and are still going strong!

You’ll Get to Be a Better Driver, Even If You Aren’t Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

When you aren’t in a financial position which makes you feel happy, you have problems. It may just be that you simply want to improve something like your credit score and you spend time asking yourself questions like “How can I restore my credit fast?” It is often a waste of time. Instead, you just need to get out there and start looking for the answer. Where to look? It’s right in front of your face right now!

The internet has solutions to just about every practical problem you will face in life and it gives you a chance to start finding answers that can make differences, sometimes right away.

It’s as simple as just googling the info to a problem like “improving credit” and finding really good info like right here at “Credit: How to Improve Your Credit Score and Rating” or at sites like RepairCredit, for one example. There you will find your (almost) Rand McNally – GPS map.

Paying Back Your Debts

Let’s not be coy here. The most troubling thing that most of us ever face is our big debts. It may start when you were just getting out of college and you are now facing huge college debt from loans you took out or it can be from a big car loan you needed to help you get around and commute to your brand new job. No matter what the reason, most of us start out with some sort of debt. And guess what? It just keeps on building for most of us as we move through life. It can be a mortgage or other things, but at some point sooner or later that pressure will hit you.

The best reason to pay off debt early is to save money and stop paying interest. Interest charges don’t buy you anything except the ability to pay off things slowly.

When you owe money for something, it can often feel as though you’re going to have to work for a very long time to be able to make it better. People spend a very long time living on the edge, struggling to make ends meet as they pay it off little by little. In reality, though, with the help of learning to make and use a good budgeting plan, you can make repayments at a much faster rate. This will cost you less money in interest, and also get rid of the thing which is hanging over your head: debt!

Saving and Investing

Saving money away is an important part of life, whether you’re saving for something specific or just creating your safety net emergency funds. To make that easier, you can get yourself into a good position with your money by saving with things like auto-deductions from your paycheck from work or by using mobile apps which are designed to put cash into savings for you. Using tools like that are great ways to get yourself on the right track, and can make the whole process faster, taking far less time than you would expect to reach your goal.

There are apps that can do loan calculations and cost comparisons, tons of cashback apps that give you money back on what you buy, apps to find discounts on purchases, and even apps that will teach you the best ways to make and stay on your monthly budget so that it will all come into place for you. Find them and use them.

Is Fast Better?

My bottom line on driving in the financial fast lane is this: The only part of “fast” that you need to prioritize is the knowledge part of your finances. Educate yourself and make yourself smarter about your money as soon as you can and never make any money decisions without slow walking them before you commit to things (despite pressure to make snap money decisions) that can forever change your life. It’s OK to do that as fast as you can!

Final Thoughts

A lot of people look at money just as a simple tool to solve their problems right now. But, in reality, money is always a crucial part of your life in all stages of your life. Making sure that you have the right things in place to keep yourself “driving safely” is ultra-important. The faster you’re able to get control of your finances and then be able to relax and think clearly about it, the faster your money worries will ease although they may never totally disappear. Then you will know what you want to do with your money and the better off you will be.

You may want to be an overnight success, but slow and steady wins the financial race. How is your financial journey going?

2 Comments

  1. Great analogy, Gary! Just like taking drivers ed or passing a road test to gain our driver’s license. I believe all young adults need some type of financial education, so hopefully, they can begin their financial lives safely and at the speed limit. 🙂

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