The line that struck me was the same one flexo centered on:
If you count yourself a member of the “I want it now” generation, the idea of waiting 20 or 30 years to get rich probably sounds like a dumb idea.The value of $1 Million in 30 years aside (as flexo points out its around $500,000 after inflation), what really struck me is that my generation is the "I want now" generation. This got me thinking, if my generation is fueled by the credo "I want now," is my investment plan "I want now" as well? I mean, $1.43 Million in 7 years is only about 2,500 days different from overnight, right?
Of course I want $1 Million tomorrow, but I think the insidious nature of the "I want now" generation is not our lack of patience but in our general lack of planning. If out of impatience we are taking more risks starting internet companies investing in the most volitile parts of the stock market and staying up nights working on building our net worth, then I think that a little impatience is good. According to Adam Smith, intelligent laziness is the driver of innovation; innovation is the driver of productivity; and productivity is the driver of prosperity.
But, what is really dangerous is not that we are impatient and lazy, but that many among us are not intelligently lazy or are lazy in the wrong way. Everybody would like $1 Million tomorrow, but how many people look at the world around them and ask what problems they could fix to create $1 Million in value? Instead many of us in our 20s are going out running up $200 bar bills (guilty myself on occasion) and racking up huge credit card debts. We have developed as a generation a convenient approach to financial planning: dont. We don't plan because we're going to get a great job, a killer raise, our stock options are going to be worth $1,000,000 alone, the $1,000 a year we do manage to save is going to return 35% a year like it did in the late 90's, we'll be the next brad pit, we're going to write the great american novel, our blog is going to bring in 6 figures a year (laughing). We don't have to work for it, no. It is our birthright.
Our generation has the oddest combination of unbridled optimism plus a complete lack of direction in how we're going to achieve our birthright of greatness and wealth. The problem is not our optimism, it is our lack of a plan or any active forward motion.
There are two kinds of lazy people in this world: The dumb lazy, and the intelligent lazy. The dumb lazy are too lazy to even figure out how they could be even lazier in the future. They get by doing the minimum amount of work to get by. The smart lazy look at hard work as the greatest producer of the ability to be lazy that exists. What the smart lazy have figured out is that by working hard now they can be lazy latter, and that over their lifetime they are going to have to do less work as a result.
The problem as I see it is not that people are being lazy, but that they aren't fully committed to being lazy. If they were, they would work hard.
If you are reading this blog, chances are you are already financially quite savvy or on your way to becoming so. So I present an open question to my readers: How do you encourage people who aren't already working on a plan to do so?