Faith. Now that’s a word you don’t often hear in financial planning or personal finance blogs.
Numbers? You hear about those – will the DOW hit 19,000? How to retire at 65! The five best credit cards for travelers! That’s because numbers feel safe – they solve equations and give definite answers: “Yes, based on your income, you qualify for a 30 year mortgage!”
Feelings, emotions, faith… these play a subtle yet huge-ungous role in our success and happiness, but we often overlook how important they are. That’s because society tells us to trust in numbers and leave all the gushy, emotional stuff for the hippies. Yet, even as a man about society, I’m starting to believe the opposite.
It could be because I’m going through this transition in my life, where much is up in the air and I’m feeling insecure about the future. It could also because I just spent a shit ton (approx $2500) over the past month going to retreats/conferences without knowing whether they’d be worth it or not, but they both turned out to be life-altering events. For example, during the retreat in Bermuda I rode a moped around with a pocked sized man named Eduardo on the back of it while duetting show-tunes at the top of our lungs (to the chagrin of the locals), and now he’s one of the people I look up to the most, personally and professionally. And yes, I’m sure that’s the most relevant example I could have used.
To clarify: for me, faith is not a religious thing – I see it as the belief that I can create any future I want as long as I take one step towards it today. That faith is then reinforced every time I take a risk, trust my gut and see the benefits of those leaps. But if it carries a religious connotation in your mind – then do what works for you baby boo.
There’s definitely a practical reason for this faith… without it, a snapshot of the numbers in my life right now wouldn’t be the most inspiring of things. I’m currently in between jobs and am burning through $2k in basic living expenses a month (not including the aforementioned $2500). I have $19k in savings but $15k is tied up in loans to the previous two companies I helped co-found (co-founder humble brag). And I recently got turned down for a paid internship because my personality was, quote, “too strong”. Although to be honest, I see legitimacy in that 🙂
But again – that’s just looking at the numbers.
Here’s what faith has given me in exchange – it’s encouraged me to believe in abundance over scarcity. It gave me the push to go to Bermuda, where I discovered my new purpose in work – to inspire fellow millennials (through multiple channels like this newsletter, a blog, videos, online/in-person meetings) to become financially free and live badass lives. It led me to tell the president of a financial planning company I interviewed with earlier this week that I’d love to work for them but also be allowed to integrate my new purpose into the work that they do. She said she’d need a week to think about how to modify the position to make that fit, and whether it’d actually work – but at least I asked for what I wanted.
And… I got my first client who said they’d pay me to help them build their financial future! All because I had faith to tell that person I wanted to start helping people immediately, insecurities be damned.
I’m not trying to brag or boast – I just want to authentically share the good things that have come out of some scary and seemingly risky decisions because of this newly found faith. It feels great to start believing in myself, believe that I’m worthy of investment, and that I have the potential to do great things. As the modern-day vocal philosophers Fifth Harmony would say, I’m worth it.
So, here’s the wrap: conventional wisdom says that you should look at the numbers and make your decisions based on them. But numbers can’t easily quantify your talents, your grit, that je ne sais quoi that makes you you. Believing your talents are unique, and getting comfortable investing in yourself to improve them, takes confidence and faith. Just know that by taking chances and trusting your convictions, it will pay greater dividends down the line than any numbers-based investment you can make today.
The Tooth Garey