I imagine my story is probably no different than yours. I was a husband and father of two kids that spent more time in the office than I would’ve preferred. Although this focus on my career led to some success, the price I paid was my deteriorating health. At 250 pounds and cholesterol numbers off the charts, I knew I needed to make some changes in my life or I’d never see 50. This commitment to improving my health led me to cycling. The immediate joy I found on the open road made it easy to stick with my goal of losing weight. My new found passion of riding my bike resulted in me losing 60 pounds in six months and over time slowly shaving off another 25 pounds to get to my current weight of 165. Once I got to my ideal weight, I decided to pursue other challenges on the bike such as riding the hardest climbs in the United States. This quest has taken me from Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to Mauna Loa in Hawaii and all points in between. Over the course of the last three years, I’ve traveled the United States and have completed 70 of the top 100 mountain climbs; including 36 of the 39 HC (beyond classification) climbs.
So the question you’re probably asking is how does a guy get that much time off to do this? The answer to that question is found in another passion of mine – personal finance. I’ve spent my life focused on planning my financial future so I could spend my time doing the things I enjoyed most. This commitment to financial freedom has allowed me to become completely debt free, build a substantial portfolio and retire at the age of 43. Achieving financial success isn’t easy but the lessons on how make this a reality are right in front of you in the form of riding a bike. I know this may sound strange, but the struggles and obstacles you have to overcome to be financially successful parallel the battles you have to face when riding a bike.
Riding in North Texas, the biggest challenge is fighting the wind. Sometimes it’s at your back and life is good while other times its dead in your face and you feel like this beating will never end. This is exactly what it feels like when you’re spending, saving and investing for you future. In the good times, when the wind is at your back, promotions at work are leading to more pay and the stock market is enjoying a steady uptrend which is padding your portfolio. On the other hand, the head winds of unexpected bills and downward spiraling markets can be demoralizing to the point where you feel the bad times will last forever.
But when you’re riding your bike, why is it that you don’t give up when this head wind is sapping your energy and killing your will to continue on? Well, when riding your bike, you know that at some point you’ll make a turn and the wind won’t be so bad. This understanding that the situation will improve in the future gives you the desire to trudge along. More importantly, you know how great that feeling will be when you cross the finish line and know that you overcame everything that was thrown you’re way and you didn’t give up. That sense of accomplishment is the ultimate feeling that keeps us coming back for more and what separates living from existing. Just like climbing mountains, getting to the top results in a lot of pain and can seem almost impossible at times. But once you’re at the top, that feeling is second to none. This is exactly what planning for your financial future feels like. Although you may feel like you took more punches than you gave, if you don’t give up when times are tough, you will achieve your goal of financial independence.
Much like going out for a ride on your bike, where it feels like the hardest part is getting suited-up; throwing your leg over the bike and clipping in for that first peddle stroke, the first step to financial success is just getting started. If you want to learn how to take charge of your future and achieve your financial goals, check out my latest book Climbing the Financial Mountain. In this book, I explain the process I personally followed to own my financial freedom and spend what precious time I have left doing what I love the most – riding my bike.
For more information about Ron and his latest book, go to www.climbingthefinancialmountain.com