Few stories have taught me more about patience than the tale of the goose who laid golden eggs.
One morning, a farmer collected eggs and found that under one bird was a golden egg. To his great surprise, the next morning another golden egg awaited him. Each morning, he was delighted to collect one golden egg.
Soon, the farmer grew impatient and decided to kill the goose to collect the eggs inside the bird. While this helped him in the short term, the result was disastrous in the long term.
In the realm of money, patience isn’t just a virtue; it is THE virtue.
It is patience that keeps investors in the markets when things are tough. It’s hard to stay invested when markets drop, but most market drops are emotional over-reactions to some piece of bad news.
Warren Buffett once said, “the stock market is a device that transfers money from impatient people to the patient.”
After a market tumbles and your statement shows you have lost money, it is natural to want to sell. Before you sell, ask yourself if more seasoned investors are going to get rich at your expense.
Likewise, it is patience that keeps the greed at bay when markets are booming. Many investors find the courage to invest only after markets have risen dramatically.
Statistically, markets don’t do well after a bull market. Use caution when buying in a bull market.
It is patience that encourages people to keep saving when they feel like their present sacrifices haven’t been fruitful. The money will grow slowly at first, and you may feel like giving up.
Look at a graph that shows the power of compound interest. Most people focus on the final result when money multiplies exponentially.
Instead, look at the first few years when money grows slowly. When you begin to save and invest it will take time before you see exciting increases.
Patience will keep you on a budget when your peers spend money like trust fund babies.
Trying to keep up with the Jones’s is a powerful temptation. Many people faced with this will sacrifice future wealth to buy the appearance of wealth.
A Greek proverb states that one minute of patience can cause 10 years of peace. Apply this principle to your spending habits.
It is easy to be swept up in a moment of excitement when you see a Black Friday sale. Patience will serve you well longterm.
Patience will lead you to participate in an employer’s 401(k) or open a personal IRA. The money that will fund those retirement accounts could be spent on more exciting things that provide immediate gratification.
It is patience that keeps you from buying more home than you can afford and keeps you from using a credit card to make discretionary purchases.
The topic of patience may not be exhilarating, but the future result of learning patience just might be.