June has arrived in Colorado with cadmium green foliage and cerulean blue skies. Warm weather is settling in and rivers are running high. Shorts and t-shirts have come out of the closet, finally!
It also means peak climbing season for the Archuleta’s.
Conquering the next 14-er (what we call a 14,000 foot peak in the Centennial State) is a lot like the journey we take towards our financial freedom.
Whether climbing a mountain or saving for retirement, we have to journey out into the great unknown. Embarking into the unknown wilderness can be uncertain, even with a good plan and a worn path ahead. It takes a lot of work to prepare for this uncertainty, but the extra effort pays off when you might need it.
Push-up’s, bike rides and 5 mile runs; late nights gathering tools and equipment and researching trails. Hours upon hours at the family table together writing a budget; paying off debt and saving extra for a rainy day. Saving for the long run and staying disciplined.
But, what about the “what-ifs”?
Will the weather cooperate? Will the trail be blocked? What if I scrape a knee, twist an ankle… or worse? What if I lose my job, pick the wrong investment? What if the market drops… or worse?
Here’s where that preparation pays off. That solid foundation we have built helps us to be durable out in the wilderness. I’ve also learned that the wild can be a smaller place when I stick to the trail, focus on the things that I am able control and try not to worry. There’s really no use in worrying, those things haven’t even happened. I could use that extra energy for the next mile.
I’m thankful for the courage of those that set out before me and blazed a trail to the top. Perhaps I may be fortunate enough have a trustworthy guide, someone who has helped others navigate the path.
What I love about hiking and climbing is overcoming adversity. That time when I couldn’t take another step, but trudged forward; this burning hunger for a Philly and fries only to rummage through my pack and discover a handful of peanuts and raisins. A lone M&M a small consolation. The trail to financial freedom comes with challenges too and, with them, little victories if we have prepared properly.
Every emotion we gathered on the trail compounds as the Summit comes into reach; breathing the thin, cool air, staring out for hundreds of miles to the horizon and finally knowing the beauty of the top of the world. Priceless.
This summer as we set out into the wilderness, whether it’s for the Summit of a 14-er or a new financial goal, recall those things that have positioned us for success. Stick to the trail. Get fit. Bring the proper tools and prepare for what you can.
See you at the top!
Nate Archuleta, CFP®, AIF®