Broker Check

Dreams to Memories

March 27, 2024

It's taken me over 50 years to get to a place where I could consider traveling annually. My younger self had no reason to believe I would leave my American borders to travel, hunt, and fish. I certainly thought about it. As a matter of fact, I thought about it all the time. When I reflect on where I was and who I was in my late teens, 20s, and 30s, it's easy to identify my obstacles. Like most dreams and ambitions, our most significant hurdle is often ourselves. An inferior state of mind can bring a great idea to a grinding halt.  Having always been focused and goal-oriented, I found myself frustrated with my inability to make the dream a reality. It always seemed very far away. 

Many people have no problem writing a check for a big trip. Ten days in Alaska, fourteen days somewhere in mid-Asia, a journey for elk every year—no problem. The thoughts of adventure remain the primary reason my foot is pressed to the professional floorboards. The good news for everyone is that most of the people that do it weren't born that way. They found a way to make it happen. The question I needed to ask myself was how I was going to make it happen.

On the other end of the economic spectrum, there are those who erroneously feel they will never be able to write that kind of check. If you think you're that person, your dream(s) is out of reach, or you plan to do it when (fill in the blank with another reason you haven't done it). Humor me. Allow me to challenge you. These same concepts and principles (along with others) can be applied to one's overall personal financial situation.

Most everything that follows comes from a place of personal experience. As a financial adviser, I know there are limitations to one's finances in the context of one's current station in life. Consider these humble ideas not so much as solutions but a way of reconsidering. Shift your paradigm. Everyone should experience what it feels like to make what you may have once thought impossible become a cherished memory. Trust me, it's worth the investment. 

Inferior state of mind

I put off my first "big trip" for over ten years. Big trips are relative to your stage of life, advocation, and experience. My first "big trip" was to Wyoming with my Dad to chase whitetail with a bow. When I was 12, it was going to happen after high school. Then, after college. Then, after graduate school. Then, once I got a job. I needed to be more focused on what it was going to take. Instead, I was focused on the perceived obstacles in my way. When you are planning to do something you have never done before, it can often seem intimidating. But that's the point, isn't it? Challenge yourself to do something new and grow. Like financial planning, you establish your objective and work backward to build your plan. 

Poor network

The universe of my young hunting life included some waterfowl hunting and pursuing white-tailed deer with a gun or bow in Pennsylvania. I can't remember anyone in my circle of influence who traveled to hunt other than my Grandfather. However, he had stopped hunting long before I was genuinely interested in the undertaking. 

Meeting and talking with the right people can make all the difference. It never crossed my mind to proactively build a network of people with the experiences I wished to have. It's all painfully obvious now. I can think of very few places where people are more eager to share their knowledge and experiences than the hunting and fishing communities. 

Find good people and communicate with them regularly. They can offer many intangible benefits, the most important of which may be strengthening your belief system. Again, the same can be said for building a business and managing your finances. Networking and building a trusted team of advisers can help you steepen your learning curve. 

Incomplete Financial Paradigm

There is this funny yet profound little thing called recency bias. It's a natural part of the human condition that causes us to project forward our most recent past. Generally speaking, after a rough year in the market, people feel the market will continue to be a poor place for their money - even though things may already be looking up. 

My mind was stuck thinking that my financial condition would incrementally improve at the same rate it had progressed in the past. This assumption is perfectly reasonable if you continually do what you have always done. To think anything else is, well, insane. This mindset often reveals itself in conversation when people seem solely focused on the cost of things and cutting expenses. This viewpoint is a short-term strategy. You can only cut costs for a while, and everything will always get more expensive.

It's called inflation, and we have had our share of it lately. With an eye only on expenses, you can lose your focus on the flip side of the equation – income. There is no law out there that says you can't do more or something different.  We possess a natural inclination to find what we seek. So, start seeking a greater income stream as though it were the trophy of a lifetime because it is. But remember not to get completely distracted by the money. You don't want the money. You want what the money does for you. Money does help make things happen, but It’s still only one of the tools you will need to turn your dreams into cherished memories. 


Brian Pitell 

BPG Planning

I may not consider myself a frequent traveler, but I’ve realized that it’s never too late to explore more and make your dreams a reality. Overcoming mental barriers, building a strong network, and improving my financial mindset have been key to helping me achieve my dreams. 

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author noted and may or may not represent the views of The Lincoln Investment Companies.