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Life in the Valley of a Cherry Blossom

Around this time of year, I begin to think about Japan and the cherry blossoms. The beautiful pink flowers that would shower the tree lined parks. They would only be around for a month top but they would transform Japan from cold and rain to springtime. I even made cherry blossoms the theme of my wedding years ago. I just love them.

Many don’t know this, but I spent a year in Japan teaching English. I went through a local city program and went to a small town about an hour or so outside of Tokyo. I was given a home to live in and a bike to ride and that was it, I was on my own. I had some other Americans that were there also teaching but I was definitely all alone in a strange country.

The one thing about my experience that really stuck out were the rituals they put the kids through. Every day started with a song. At lunch, they made lunch and served each other. At the end of school, 30 minutes were dedicated to the kids cleaning the school and their classrooms. They were taught to respect their environment and learned the art building good habits for adulthood.

I noticed how the kids realized that they were a group working together. Each student had their own role they would play in the clean part of the day. One would tackle wiping down the desks. Another student would take the trash out. Two other students would dust the baseboards. They all knew that the small role they played added up to a much bigger result. The kids never moaned or whined. They knew that this was part of being part of the school community. The small things they did mattered.

We in America forget how small things add up to big things. How taking 5 minutes to just put your laundry on hangers helps in the long run with get laundry folded and put away. It takes the friction out because I don’t have to spend 30 minutes doing the laundry, just 5 minutes at a time. It’s always an all or nothing for us. If we want to mop the floors, then we should just clean the whole house. If we want to lose weight, we need to eat nothing but raw vegetables and protein shakes. If we go grocery shopping, we buy everything we need for our lifetimes it seems. As my husband says, the store will still be here on Wednesday if we need more olive oil.

How many of us are taking this all or nothing approach with our saving and financial planning? I have a client I met for lunch a few weeks ago who told me he was finally ready to start saving again. “I keep thinking I have to put $1,000 a way a month to start saving and I never seem to have that much ready to save. I need to remember that saving $50 gets me started and is better than nothing saved at all.” He’s right! $50 bucks is better than nothing for sure. Added bonus about us humans, we tend to build on what we start. So that $50 a month might turn into $75, then $100, and possibly he could get to his $1,000 a month goal eventually. If not, it’s ok. He’s building. Pat on the back for him.

Take a little time and decide on one thing you can do that will contribute to your overall financial well-being. What can you do small today that will contribute to your larger picture going forward? Then put an action plan together to do it.

We have a resource called “Baby Step Your Way to Financial Independence.” It’s 15 small things you can incorporate into your life that will make a big impact on your financial future. You can download it here:

Sean Covery said, “Small Changes can make huge destination differences.” Choose your destination and start the journey, one small change at a time.

We at One Vision Retirement are happy to have a no obligation call to go discuss your situation and questions.

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Investment advice offered through Integrated Financial Partners, doing business as One Vision Retirement, a registered investment advisor. The information in this material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Integrated Financial Partners does not provide tax advice or services. Please consult a qualified tax advisor regarding your specific situation.



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