How do you handle change? Some people put it in parking meters. But everybody copes with it differently. Change can appear in many ways but it is always inevitable. You have memories and life experiences today that you didn’t have 20 years ago. Your appearance has probably changed quite a bit too. Even the matter of which you are made up of is different. Millions of new cells in your body are created everyday, and old ones die off. Scientists say about every 5 to 7 years just about every atom and molecule in your body is replaced. 20 years is enough time for your body to go through several of these cycles. It appears that the only constant in life – is change.


Similarly the person that you will become 20 years into the future will be psychologically different, remember very few of your current experiences, and have a body that only resembles your present one in appearance, but contain none of the same physical matter. So in a way, you have more in common with your next door neighbor today, in terms of memories, experiences, and history, than with your future self 20 years from now.

When it comes to managing money there is no universal guideline or investment portfolio that is right for everyone because each person has different values and financial goals. Warren Buffett, as a long term value investor, once said his “favorite holding period is forever.” But people change, especially over decades. This means your investment strategy will change as well. So how do you reconcile this truth with a long term buy and hold investment strategy? In other words, if your risk tolerance is constantly changing then can a “buy and hold” strategy truly work?

Well I believe the stocks that you buy today should actually reflect your future needs because that’s when you’ll retire and actually be using the money. The best investments that you can hope to buy and hold right now should be more in line with the asset allocation and risk tolerance requirements of who you will become in the future, and not who you are today. Many people make the mistake of creating an investment strategy using the present time as their starting frame of reference. But their portfolio in the present time isn’t what’s important. Saving money and making wise investment decisions are important right now. So instead, they should plan their investment strategy from the perspective of themselves in the future, when it’s actually time to rely on their hard earned nest egg. Keep that in mind when you make your next investment.

However predicting what your model portfolio should look like 20 years into the future isn’t easy. Luckily you have somebody to help you with that. Or maybe I should say somebodies. As Michael from VSauce eloquently puts it, “living once means living many times as a series of similar but technically different people who know each other but only in one direction, and who can help each other but only in the other direction.

The past you does not know the current and future you, but only the past you can help the future you. Use your knowledge from all the versions of your past to help determine what your financial requirements will be in the future. This is what retirement planning is all about. Start by tracking your money. Know how much you earn and spend every month. Track your stock portfolio performance. Make a note of how the ups and downs of the market make you feel. Learn from your previous money mistakes. And keep in mind that investing is an ongoing personal journey. The longer you keep at it the more financial history you will have, which means the more past versions of yourself there will be to help you make better future decisions. 😉

Random Useless Fact:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11/25/2014 6:10 am

LOVE the last paragraph! Perfect advice to jump start a path to financial awareness. History can’t change the future, but knowledge of it certainly can… – Cheers.

11/26/2014 3:06 pm

That why you should never stop learning and evolving and keep having new experiences especially with investing. People often put themselves in a limiting box when it comes with investments. DONT BE SCCCCCCCCRRRDDD, Try new things!

11/26/2014 11:13 pm

Time will only tell. I live in cycles. For most part, I have always been trading up. Every move you make is critical. I have not tracked the progress of my stocks very well. I’ve lost data for the first few years as I jumped from brokerage to brokerage. But all I know is I’ve only reported one net loss tax return. 20 yrs from now.. I hope not to be working anymore.

Jason @ Islands of Investing
Jason @ Islands of Investing
11/27/2014 2:34 am

Wonderful advice. It really pays to put in the time and effort for understanding yourself and your own behaviours, strengths and weaknesses. Tracking your portfolio and finances, and actually reflecting on what has happened is an awesome way to do this. Hopefully we will all continue to change for the better and become wiser in the process!


[…] Thirty Five Blog said the past can help the future you.  Absolutely […]

The Asian Pear
11/29/2014 3:45 pm

Very wise. It reminded me of one of my favourite quotes.

“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Yakezie Carnival - brokeGIRLrich
12/07/2014 5:01 am

[…] 35 Blog writes Change – Our future outcome depends on what we learn from our […]

The Roamer
12/07/2014 11:19 am

I really liked the beginning so much does change and sometimes it changes so quickly.

Though I don’t really want to visualize myself 20 yrs older. Hahaha

Deal For a Living (@DealForALiving)
Deal For a Living (@DealForALiving)
12/09/2014 7:49 pm

That picture you included with the t-shirt is just awesome.


[…] Many actuaries and financial experts like to use the 4% rule because it represents a sustainable draw down rate over a long period of time. On a similar note, when I occasionally sell my investments to pay for large purchases, I also think of that as stealing income away from my future self. […]


[…] Every waking moment in the present is an opportunity for us to make better decisions that will help our future selves. Wallowing in regret or past mistakes will not help us in this respect. Whenever we become […]


[…] have to change your opinions about markets, the economy, and your investments when the fundamental change. Don’t be stubborn. Change your mind as often as the facts […]


[…] Thirty Five Blog said the past can help the future you.  Absolutely […]