10% To Your Future

After going to doctor #3 and writing the letter to myself in 10 years, I started thinking about the future and what we should be giving to it.

In the personal finance world it is a “no-brainer” that we should be saving for the future. And some people say we should be saving 8% or 10% or 12% of our salary after taxes to our future retirement savings. While people may argue about how much exactly is the right amount to contribute or where the best place is to invest this money, no one doubts that they should be doing it.

And what I’ve been thinking a lot about since then is – why am I not giving 10% of my time to my future as well?

Now, 10% of a day is a long time. That’s 2.4 hours. We’ll round up and just call this two and a half hours a day. Or 17.5 hours per week. That is nearly a part time job that I should be devoting to my future.

And I cautiously wondered what sort of things I should be doing in this 10% of the day that should be dedicated to my future.

The first is obvious: Exercise

The best investment you can make in yourself is to make sure that you live to use your retirement funds. Your medical expenses will be less. You life will be better, you will look better, ect, ect. And exercise has the secondary benefit of not just helping you in the future (like a retirement fund would do), but also helps you look good NOW, feel good NOW – and do the same for you in the future. So definitely a lot of my 10% should go to exercise, if not most of it.

Second: Meditation

For some people this can be done while exercising. This is true for me. I spend most of the time I’m out walking or running thinking. About my future, about my life, about God, about everything. This helps me stay focused on the big picture of life. And I think that keeping in mind the “big picture” is an investment in the future. Some people need prayer in the morning. Or a Bible study. Or simply 20 minutes of silence with their thoughts each day.  This is an investment in your future mental sanity.

Third: Helping Others

It may seem strange that I would list “helping others” on a list of things to help you invest in your future self. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Helping is good for the soul, not just today, but who you are in the future. Also, it is an investment in your life after retirement.

Many people hit retirement and suddenly don’t have a thing to do. So they try to start volunteering. However, old people volunteering are a dime a dozen. I’ve heard/read many horrible stories about retirees who want to help, but can’t because they don’t have the skills or the man hours invested in the volunteer position they want.

The best way to ensure that you have a place to go to give back to the world when you retire is to make sure that you already have a place there now, and that you’ve been doing it for some time. You only need 3-10 hours a week to make a difference in the world. And if you start now you can transition that into something more full time when you retire AND you can look back on your life and see the fruits of the good work you did in the world.

The Summary

It is an interesting realization to me that I am so quick to save 10% of my money for the future, but hesitate when it comes to time. The reality is that without an investment on both ends (time & money), I would be able to properly reap the benefits of either.

So I’ve started going to the gym on my lunch breaks at work and have been walking Jack at least 45 minutes to an hours a day (which he loves!). My walks with Jack serve as a great chance to meditate on life. And the volunteering, well, I need to get back in to that. But it feels oh so silly to start now if I have to leave in August.

What are you thoughts? Do you think that you can dedicate 10% of your time to your future? In what other ways do you think you give to your future on a regular basis?


9 Responses to 109 To Your Future

  1. Sarah says:

    Great idea! I hadn’t thought of it this way. I do the exercise piece pretty well (5-6x/wk, maybe 6-8 hrs total) but I’ve been itching to do some volunteering too, and I know I feel better when I meditate.

    I would add another future-oriented activity: Mental/cognitive exercise. Something that stretches your brain so you can prevent/forestall dementia. For instance, reading, crosswords, sudoku, learn a language, learn to knit, etc.

    • SS4BC says:

      Great suggestion Sarah!!! I love doing mental exercises, and you’re right, doing them can really strengthen your long term brain power!

  2. TeacHer says:

    I would also add learning/education to that list. It could be career education, learning about a place you want to travel to some day, or just learning for learning’s sake, but I think that investments in your own health and education are the two best that you can possibly make. Both are risk-free and have a very high rate of return. Perfect!

  3. mo says:

    that is such a cool idea. I love it. I would perhaps moot that out of 10% of 24 you might want to consider a proportion to be used as sleep! I know we don’t sleep half the day, but I like the idea of a good 8 hours, which is a third. So say 1 and a half hours a day towards your future… invested in your future….

  4. Jessie says:

    wow! this is a really excellent post….love the follow up comments too…I’m really going to think about this one!

  5. Lillie says:

    August is still a long way off. Just think of the positive benefits you will be able to reap in the interim. The meditation part for me also requires that I focus on personal growth and development. That focus eventually leads to helping others. I think you are on to something and all of the ideas re-enforce the required balance that we need to make life and the future even more rewarding. Excellent ideas!

  6. This is a great idea. I haven’t been giving too much time to my life/future! I have gotten into meditating on the bus rides to work. It allows me to block out everything that is going on for at least 10 minutes and think about what I’m planning on doing today that will make it a bit better than yesterday.

  7. Kelsalynn says:

    I’m a bit of a lurker, moreso than a commenter, but this post requires a comment! I love it! It’s such a strong and valid point and one that I, too, have never really thought about. I need to do some brainstorming on this but I’m writing a post to link to this because I like it that much and think I have readers who will appreciate it as well. Thanks for the excellent post!

  8. Good points!

    I really need to work on this one too. All of it, exercise, meditation, learning and helping. Thanks for the great post! 🙂

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