On a recent trip, I pulled off the highway and into a mom-and-pop filling station called the Sunset Gas & Grill. It was just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. I always thought filling station wasn’t an adequate way to describe such establishments because you don’t just fill there — you empty as well. And I really needed to.
I pulled alongside the pump in a 30-foot class C motorhome. I got the pump going and made a beeline for the on-board bathroom.
The motorhome has a 60-gallon tank. And even though we were sitting at a quarter of a tank, I still had plenty of time to go to the bathroom and get back out before the pump stopped. As a matter of fact, the station had a $75 limit, so I had to restart the pump to finish filling the tank.
As I was standing there, I decided it would be a good idea to remove all the bug guts we had received on the windshield as we drove back across Texas. So, I grabbed the squeegee and went to work.
As I finished, another patron of the store passed by in a PT Cruiser. He hung his head out of the window and said, “Man, that looks like fun,” referring to the RV.
I agreed. We had had a blast driving to the Grand Canyon and back.
The man asked me some questions about our rented RV. We chitchatted a bit, and then he said, “I want to do something like that. You know — get out and travel.” He paused with an inscrutable look and then finished his thought with, “Someday.”
I bade him farewell, got back on the bus and put it in gear.
As I continued on our trip, I pondered what the man said, and how he had paused before saying, “Someday.”
You see, “someday” feels like a dichotomy — it’s full of hope, dreams and aspirations. But by the same token, it can be an illusion, a scapegoat or even a crutch.
I believe “someday” begins with that first definition — when things in life are new and exciting. But when it takes more time and effort to realize “someday” than the dreamer anticipated, that’s when it becomes the latter.
As real estate investors this is a hard one to balance — at least it has been for me. We plan for the future. Our rentals are our retirement. And we live like no one else now, so we can live like no one else later.
But the question I find myself asking is, “When does later come?”
You see, when I look at my generation, I see a lot of the people I grew up with on vacations, with new vehicles and lots of grown-up toys like boats, jet skis and other motorized things. I have even heard them say things like, “I’m going to live it up now because I am not promised tomorrow.” Those same people can’t go a month, a week, or even a day without working because they are payment poor with no savings. And I have had friends get hurt or sick, and they couldn’t work and almost lost everything. And some did lose because they blew all their money living for today and not planning for tomorrow.
That does not seem like a very good place to be.
But in the same way, dreaming of trips with your family to exotic destinations but never seeing those experiences happen because you’re waiting on “someday” doesn’t seem like a good idea either.
Y’all, I didn’t even realize I was battling with “someday” until I experienced some deaths close to me this year. Both my uncle and Marybeth passed suddenly in car wrecks, and those events have me revaluating things. You see, I had been waiting on my own “someday.” You know — when all our rentals are paid off.
When Ashley and I started our investing career, we dreamed of having the freedom to travel with our kids. We hoped for them to experience the world and intertwin that experience with their education. And part of that plan included getting in an RV and going around the US. “Someday” could kill that dream.
So how do you balance the wants of today with the needs of preparing for the future?
I don’t know the answer to that question yet — I’m still trying to figure it out. But one conclusion I have come up with is that I need to leave “someday” out of the equation. Instead, I need to have a plan that allows me to experience today while planning for retirement.
We took action on that plan, rented an RV and went to the Grand Canyon. And it was amazing. And I am very glad we didn’t wait for “someday.”
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.