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We are all time travelers. Songs take us back with memories, habits formed carry us through. Click through to read more!

Yesterday while fiddling with my phone, I hit the music player and started playing Imagine Dragon’s It’s Time. For a few brief seconds, I felt like I had been transported back to another time.

The transient period went in an out as I listened to the song. Imagine Dragons has been one of my favorites for the last several years. They’re a rock band that rose to fame in 2012 with the hit single “It’s Time”. Some would describe their sound as a variety of indie rock. Just in case you were interested in knowing!

As I listened to the song over and over, memories rushed back to me. Memories from my first year of college when I had blasted the song on repeat. It was a getup type anthem I used for motivation whenever I needed to study or do a shift at work I wasn’t all that excited about.

I continued listening to it throughout the rest of my freshman year. It stuck with me and even when I stopped playing it for awhile when it come on again, the music would instantly take me back.

Listening to it felt like time travel.

Usually, the only time you hear about time travel with the personal finance world is when it comes to compound interest. A young twenty-something gets advice from someone who’s older, wiser, and somewhat regretful about not putting enough money away while they were young.

Or you hear about it when it comes to the apocalyptic outlook the media throws on the social security system.

It’s going to fade away in 2034! BOO! 

Those things deal with it but there are additional things time travel touches.

We are all time travelers. We do things today that set us up for tomorrow.

When not all purchases are bad

When you’re money conscious, focused on simple living or even have a frugal mindset, contemplating purchases can be daunting. There’s all this talk about avoiding lifestyle inflation, only buying things you need and value, and decluttering to just the essentials.

Well, what exactly counts as “essential”? Does your iPhone count as non-essential even though you love taking photos with it? Do your book purchases look like an unnecessary luxury even though you’re a dedicated bookaholic?

Simple lesson: purchases aren’t always bad. When you’re buying something because you know it will help you in some way, it can actually be a good thing. And yes, even when that certain something is a big ticket item.

It’s all about investing in yourself. The purchases/investments you make today could set you up towards success.

The idea of decluttering and paring down to just essentials involves going through your possessions. Possessions you’ve accumulated over the years. Possessions that, when you touch them, take you back to the time and mindset when you bought it.

Let’s say you want to learn photography. You’re probably going to want to buy a professional grade DSLR or mirrorless down the line as you develop your skills.

A few years down the line, when that camera is sitting on your table, you’re going to look at it and be taken back to the time when you decided to invest in something and purchase it. It’s a feel good kind of time travel. Except, in this case, you bought something you used to enhance your personal development, rather than something like shoes or a few $12 cocktails.

Habit building 

One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1999 film Superstar! starring Saturday Night Live alumni Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell. It’s hilarious in lots of aspects, not the least being the fact that the “high schoolers” were real-life thirty-somethings.

In the film, the main character Mary Catherine Gallager decides to enroll in the school’s talent show. Against some (hilarious) adversity, she perseveres and ends up winning the show.

I know this is a fictional comedic example but it’s refreshing nonetheless. And it shows (in a funny way) how if you start small and keep at something, remaining consistent, you will get where you want to be.

Daily actions are a flavor of compound interest. The actual compound interest is the gold standard that will help you build wealth. Daily actions are the things that help you build personal development wealth. Instead of investing growth, we’re talking about building a habit around something you want to do in life.


With music, aside from my love for Imagine Dragons, there are other songs that when I listen to them, bring me back to remembering a different time.

Listening to American Author’s Best Day of My Life helps me remember my second year of college, when I first started learning web design. In the hours before I walked across stage to accept my college diploma, I replayed One Republic’s Something I Need several times.

We’re all time travelers. We have the ability to look back and see what worked and what didn’t (anybody still sporting frosted tips? No? Okay…). Whether it be through song, building a habit, or making an investment through a purchase, we have the ability to shape ourselves toward something.

I’d like to think my 18-year-old self, the one who jammed out to Imagine Dragons, would be proud that I finally started to be more strategic about investing in myself. Not just from getting better with my money, but learning the importance of investing in myself.

Putting money aside every month for retirement no longer feels like throwing it towards some mysterious time period 40 years from now. Listening to Imagine Dragon’s It’s Time, and thinking of my 18-year-old broke college self, I remember I don’t really want that life anymore. Not contributing to retirement and being at the mercy of social security would give me that similar lifestyle I know I no longer want. It’s a gentle nudge from me…to me, to keep put money aside every month for my older self.

Retirement contributions and investing for personal development are just two of the ways I think of in terms of time travel. What’s yours?

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Colin // RebelwithaPlan

Colin Ashby is the writer behind Rebel with a Plan, a website dedicated to people who choose to rebel against the norm of living in debt and feeling financially unenlightened. He believes everyone has an eccentric quality to embrace and that lattes are sometimes a necessity (despite what the personal finance community tells you).

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1 Comment on We’re All Time Travelers

  1. DC @ Young Adult Money
    December 14, 2016 at 8:26 pm (3 years ago)

    I think it’s very important to look back on things we’ve tried, things we would change, etc. and see how it can help us live better today. Sometimes it means thinking about missed opportunities, but you have to find a practical takeaways.


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