Row the boat to build wealth

We all wish we had a speed boat to build wealth, but building wealth takes time

In December 2012, Western Michigan University announced the hiring of P.J. Fleck as the university’s new head football coach, making him the youngest coach in major college football.  Along with intense energy, Fleck brought with him a “row the boat” mantra.  After a disastrous first season, players bought into Fleck’s philosophy and mantra. His tenure at Western Michigan ended with a trip to the prestigious Cotton Bowl in his fourth year before leaving for a bigger Minnesota program. While row the boat was applied to a football team, it can easily transcend many aspects in life – including building wealth.  While it takes time to get somewhere rowing a boat, it also takes time to build wealth.

Keep Your Oars in the Water

If the oars aren’t in the water, the rowboat will drift without a purpose.  The first step is to engage in putting the oars in the water.  A captain new to rowing a boat may make some mistakes, but at least they are engaged and learning.  They quickly understand that the deeper the oars are in the water, the faster the boat goes.  It is also apparent that the harder the boat is rowed, the greater the work and the more the muscles start to ache.  Rowing is not easy, but it is rewarding as the shoreline passes.

Building wealth requires being engaged in the process of investing. The more money saved systematically; the quicker wealth is built. Sacrificing spending habits to build wealth faster can be painful.  We all wish we had a speed boat to build wealth, but building wealth takes time.

Learn from Looking Back

When a boat is rowed, the captain faces the back of the boat while it moves forward. They can see where they have been and learn from the past. With investing, we can learn from our mistakes in the past as we move forward building wealth.  While we have financial goals and know we are headed in the right direction, it may not be until the goal is within reach before the wisdom of our choices are recognized.

Rough Seas

Franklin D Roosevelt said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” Rowing the boat in calm waters is easy.  Rowing the boat in choppy seas is hard and may lead to panic or exhaustion which can cause poor decisions. During a storm, it is important to keep the shoreline in view and a map close.

During times of rough seas when the markets are volatile, it is more important than ever to have a plan.  We must have a plan in place with our portfolio prior to the downturn in the markets. This means a strategically diversified portfolio while keeping track of financial goals.

Row the Boat

Rowing a boat is not easy.  We must keep the oars in the water, learn from the past, keep moving forward in the right direction and have a plan.  Over time, the destination will be reached. While building wealth, it is important to define the destination or financial dreams. 

In the words of Thomas Carlyle, “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.” Once you have a destination, grab the oars, start building wealth and row the boat.

Categories: Finance