Variously funny, sad, and downright apocalyptic, the tweets got me thinking. This one in particular made me think about my own progress early in my working career.
Progress is slow at first but then, that foundation you built is ready and able to hold more and more weight. I hate to break it to Harleigh but two years is only a small part of the years it will take to build your foundation. The image below shows my progress in the first five years I was working, five, not two. There wasn’t much progress to speak of.
Then I got married and while it looks like things started to grow quickly, the next couple of years were still pretty flat. The only reason they jumped up at all is because my new wife and I combined our finances.
These two charts represent 8 years of working hard, taking as much overtime as I could, being out of balance in terms of work/life, and making decisions that, we hoped, would pay off in the future. Similar to planting a seed, at first all you’re watering is dirt, then a sprout shoots up. Then that sprout begins to flower.
The same can be said for your finances. First you’re plowing money into something that doesn’t look like it’s growing then things began to change. Instead of staying flat, our net worth started to sprout and grow each year and each year it grew faster because of the work we had done in the beginning.
Sure, there were setbacks such as the great recession of 2008 but it doesn’t look so bad when you see what came after it. In the moment, we all thought it was the end, that we’d never recover but we did. Just as now, the very real dangers of climate change, income inequality, and debt (personal and national) look as if they will destroy anything we build, the truth is we’ll find a way to persevere.
Nothing comes easily but when you lay down the base and continue to build momentum you will, eventually, see progress. This image pretty much sums it up so get behind the wheel and jam that peddle to the floor.