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Hard things don't get easier

By Beth Henary Watson

As we head into the holiday season—including my favorite holiday, New Year’s—I wanted to share a bit of inspiration with you that arrived in my mailbox.

A few weeks ago I received a fancy water tumbler from Dalton Education, the test-prep company I used for my Certified Financial Planner review last year. Evidently you can subject this water container, a Tervis, to a wide variety of hostile environments and it still has a lifetime guarantee.

When I opened this gift, my first thought wasn’t, however, what an awesome water cup! It was: Thank God I did that last year.

CFP certification involves several classes, which I took through UT-San Antonio, as well a national standardized test. In all it took about 2 years. But even though the nights and weekends of study weren’t easy, they would have been much more difficult in 2020. In addition to quarantine and homeschool, my husband had emergency Achilles surgery and a back incident which hampered his participation in child care and household chores for several months.

Although we’re sailing along better now…the kids are back in school and Steve has healed up, 2019 was much smoother on the whole than this year has been.

I’m so glad I did that exam last year.

I write this to suggest that if you have a personal goal, or something you need to get done—whether you want to or not—do it ASAP. Do the hard thing now.

Perhaps you would like to lose some weight or run a marathon. Get started. Don’t wait ‘til New Year’s! While I’m not a natural runner, in my early 30s I ran several 5k races as part of an effort to get in better shape. 5k is the extent of my running ambitions, but I’m so glad I did that back then. It would be so much more difficult all these years and 2 kids later.

Maybe you need to have a tough conversation with a family member or friend. Stop putting it off! My Dad was just 71 when he died unexpectedly last year.

The same principle applies to saving, whether it is for retirement or for something else. Generally, it doesn’t get easier. And it never gets any cheaper. Boost your contributions, or if you’re retired, talk to your children and grandkids about how saving and investing earlier may simplify retirement planning.

Whatever you need to make happen, do it now. You will be so glad you did!


Corner Post Financial Planning and Dalton Education are separate entities and not affiliated with LPL Financial.