What the Rock Cairn Teaches Us About Money

Financial Planning /
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When creating an identity for this blog, I was attracted to the idea of a rock cairn.  In our travels, we often come across cairns on our hikes, and I never fail to wonder what the person was thinking of when he or she built it.  In most cases, the rock cairn is created as a trail marker, a symbol of direction moving forward.

The rock cairn is the perfect symbol for personal finance.  Not only does it suggest the path forward, it’s also synonymous with the idea that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  The same goes for financial knowledge.  In order to be successful at something, we must go step by step.  Or rock by rock.

The base rock in a cairn needs to be broad, flat, and strong.  In personal finance, the first thing we need is a firm foundation.  Learning how to set goals, determining our current financial situation, building an emergency fund, and getting out of consumer debt are the hallmarks of a solid foundation stone for your rock cairn.

Only after that foundation is laid can we benefit from next steps in our financial lives.  If we jump ahead to stack the rocks of investing and buying a house, for instance, our cairn will collapse without a broad and solid foundation stone.

Is your foundation stone sufficiently strong so you can move along your financial path?

  • Where are you financially? Do you fully know where you stand financially?  Do you have a net worth and cash flow statement that shows you where you are today with your finances?


  • What are your goals? Whether the goals are simple or elaborate, what do you want your money to do for you?  What things do you need to work on in your financial life?  What are your financial dreams?


  • How’s your rainy-day fund? Do you have a cushion of savings in the event of an emergency?


  • What do your debts look like? Other than a mortgage or student loans, how much do you owe?  What is your plan to eliminate that debt?  How will you restructure your finances to avoid turning to debt in the future?

Resources at SimpleMoney

I’ve written several blog posts intended to help you develop a strong foundation stone to support the rock cairn of your financial life.

Should Your Goals be Simple? Or BHAGs?

Goal Setting for the Win!

You Can’t Get There if You Don’t Know Where You are Now

What are you Worth?  Build a Net Worth Statement to Find Out

5 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth

Build a Cash Flow Statement to See Where all Your Money Flows (and Goes!)

How is a Cash Flow Statement Different than a Budget?

Don’t Know How to Start Saving?  Start Here!

Give Your Money a Job!

How is your financial life rock cairn looking?  Is it teetering precariously, or is it rock solid?  Share your thoughts below.

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