“I want to live for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” That’s one more short-term excuse we use to rationalize behavior that defies our long-term intentions.
Think for a moment about all the things you plan for in life: a wedding, a family beach vacation, a trip to the wellness spa. Even this week’s dinner menu. Yet, we’re so reluctant to adequately plan for our retirement, and most people simply aren’t saving enough money to fund their retirement. We don’t put the time or energy into it that, say, we may put into our next yoga class. In fact, we’re encouraged to be present, to live in the moment. But I’m here to tell you that you can live in the moment and be mindful of your savings.
As someone who’s worked in the financial service industry for twenty-five years, I know that most of us struggle to save money. We just don’t know how. Even more, we don’t know how much money we should be saving.
Now some of you might be saying: I’ve got a 401(k) plan. That’s fine, but did you know that the average balance of today’s 401(k) plans is around $40,000? Even more troubling, only two percent of 401(k) participants who are 60 years of age or older have more than $250,000 in their 401(k) accounts. Let’s put that into perspective: It would take one million dollars for a 65-year-old to generate $40,000 of annual income.
Sure, we can blame these grim numbers on the stock market doldrums over the last ten years, and that’s partly true. Still, what it boils down to is that we as a nation are not saving enough. Worse, 35 percent of Americans say they don’t even contribute to any retirement accounts!
So what should you do? Well, some people in my industry might tell you to quit your daily latte habit. You can then save the four dollars and put it towards your financial goals. Let’s get real here…that ain’t going to happen! So my best advice to you is to pay a visit to a fee-based financial advisor.
Is it because a fee-based advisor can get you a better return? Possibly, but that isn’t the point! A fee-based advisor will tell you how much you need to save for your long-term intentions such as a home, college, or retirement, and then hold you accountable to do so!
Yes, it’s natural for us to want to live in the moment. Nothing, though, will take you out of the moment more than having to chase money, having to chase a lifestyle you once enjoyed. Save now so that in the future you can stay in the moment. And as I always say: you may not run out of money, but you may run out of lifestyle!