I am proud to say that I have taken up surfing and loving it. Originally, I watched a load of surfers and came to the conclusion that it was a lot of effort for very little reward.
You have to get up early to catch the best waves, otherwise, the winds can affect the quality of the wave.
You have to paddle out against the waves, which can turn out to be quite a workout.
You sit on your board waiting for a wave you are happy to get, paddle like crazy and stand up in one movement.
As soon as you stand up, you are lucky to ride the wave for 10 seconds.
You are back in the water and paddling out for another wave.
A lot of effort for very little return. Or so I thought.
Surfing is far more than just catching a wave.
When getting up early, you are soon rewarded with the stillness and beauty of the beach.
Watching the waves and picking when to paddle out in the calm between the sets of waves.
When you are far enough out, you sit on your board and take in what is going on around you.
Dolphins swimming, Pelican's dive bombing for fish and the tranquility that clears your mind.
Then a wave appears, it’s the right one for you. You paddle hard, you feel the surge of power by the wave as it takes you forward. You do your best to place your hands at the side of the board, your feet on the board, toes touching the board and then in one movement spring up.
As a beginner, it is not as easy as it looks. My back foot drags and I end up with a foot and a knee on the board. The wave dissipates and I paddle back.
Another wave comes along, my hands find the side of the board, my toes are on the board and with a spring, I am up and the wave takes me for about 3 seconds and I fall off. Those three seconds are in slow motion and it might as well have been 30 seconds.
The joy. Who knew that those 3 seconds could be so joyful.
I find myself paddling back out. This time the waves have subsided, a surfer paddles past, a nod of the head and “good mornings” are exchanged.
Before long, it is time to go in. I look for that last wave and ride it in (the best I can in between kneeling and standing). I have caught my wave today. Next time I surf, I plan to tighten up on my back foot.
But it is not just about the actual wave catching, but the experience that goes along with it.
After surfing, I am now in the office. I have had a workout, cleared my head, found an appreciation of my surroundings and I am ready to start my workday.
My experiences with surfing can apply to a lot of different situations. Perseverance, patience, learning, adaptability, preparation and so on, but today I want to focus on personal finance.
Earlier I said that there is a lot of effort for very little return. The truth is, it is like saving. In order for something to be worthwhile, you have to put the effort in and also be willing to sacrifice.
Your paycheck or any money that you receive should not be your budget. By this I mean you should not spend it all. Put some of it away for different uses. When you put money away, you have money for later. If you feel that you do not have enough and are always struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month, try taking 10% of the money you earn straight out of your bank account as soon as you get paid, and place it in a savings account. That way you don’t realize you have that money. I bet you would learn to manage the money that you have available to you.
Like my surfing, this will be difficult at first, but through adapting, learning and perseverance, it won’t be long before it becomes second nature. The more you practice, the better you get. Over time your money will grow and in the right savings account, you will even get interest. The concept of compound interest will actually apply to you. In surfing, my efforts are compounded as my skills in the water grow. It won’t be long before I am riding a wave for its entirety and my three seconds of joy will not be an achievement, but a minimum standard.
As Warren Buffet says “Don’t save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”
By doing this you will grow your savings or as some call it your Emergency fund. Next time you have an unexpected bill, you will have the money to pay for it. If there is something that you really want or want to do, you have the money to pay for it.
Knowing that you saved the money and you don’t have to pay on credit, or worry about paying off your balance and being hit with interest, will take a huge amount of stress off you. In a survey, nearly 3 out of 4 adults said that they felt money-related stresses.
So by adapting your money habits, will you be one of those 3 out of 4 adults?