July 7, 2015

“What have we gotten ourselves into?!” A few months ago, a group of us at Mainspring (me, Tyrel Lacey, and Ryan Rourke) decided it would be fun to train for the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride. That fun has now turned into a mixture of anticipation and anxiety as the July 11 date looms. However, there are three distinct characteristics that we all embody as advisors in our practice that I know will help propel us the 208 miles and across the finish line.

Planning and Preparation

When we decided to embark on this journey, it was January. We felt like we had plenty of time to get in our ‘saddle time’ but as anyone knows, time flies. We first had to understand the end goal: ride 208 miles in one day. That led us to our training schedule. We mapped out how many miles per week, what days we would hit our long rides, and how much food we will have to consume to keep our legs pumping across state lines.

We take a very similar approach with our clients. In some of our first meetings, we discuss your goals and what finish line you want to cross so we can begin preparing for them. Goals must be specific, measurable and actionable. If we had set out without knowing the steps it takes to complete STP and blindly went through the weeks and months of preparation, we would most certainly fail.

One early Saturday morning as we were cycling around Lake Washington, Ryan hit a pot hole and broke part of the frame of his bicycle. We were miles from the nearest bike shop but had to quickly adapt to the situation and get it fixed so we could continue. It’s the same as saving for a house or vacation, and your car unexpectedly needs repairs. We like to plan for the future, but be prepared for the unexpected. We found a bike shop and got Ryan’s bike repaired and were quickly back on our way. While we can prepare as best as possible, it’s determination and positive thinking that get you through the most difficult challenges.

Discipline and Sacrifice

Training for a physical endeavor like STP takes incredible discipline and sacrifice. I admittedly didn’t love waking up on Saturdays at 5am to the cold and fog to jump on my bike, but I know it will help get me to my goal. Spending 8-10 hours on weekends away from my wife and family has also been a struggle, but it’s not forever and she supports me 100 percent. Most importantly, she understands the consistency of training is what is needed to make me most successful.

Attaining financial independence takes the same type of discipline and sacrifice. Financial independence is rarely achieved because of one big deal, one amazing stock pick or one ‘windfall’. It is attained over a life-time of hard work, saving and the discipline to live within your means and sometimes forego the “wants” in life.

Team Work

I was never big into cycling before this. I didn’t know the hand signals, I didn’t understand that tucking in and drafting would increase our speed exponentially and I didn’t start out with the right gear. Luckily, the team we created has provided incredible support — moral and otherwise. We have to rely on each other at various times because we all bring different skills to the table. Changing a tire on the side of a country road can be a lonely undertaking, but having a friend next to you to help (and bring levity to the situation) can make the difficult situation a fun story to tell afterwards.

I see team work in every relationship that I have with my clients and try to foster a sense of partnership. I would never want a client going at this alone. We provide accountability, and advice and support — moral and otherwise. It’s a good feeling to know you always have someone to rely on.

Seattle to Portland facts (and estimates): – Total distance: 208 miles – Start time: 4:30 AM – Estimated finish time: 7:30 PM – Estimated number of calories burned: 12,272

Wish us luck!Ed BradleyFinancial Planner