Being in the industry of helping everyday people save and plan for retirement has provided insight into what it takes to be successful and happy during these retirement years. I will share some common characteristics of what I personally believe it takes to reach long-term financial goals.
The Sprinter vs. Marathoner
We all have that relative or friend who constantly tells us about a new opportunity, project, or thing they are working on that will be their big breakthrough. The new business idea that they are going to be starting in the coming months that will provide them with financial success. Only to speak to them the following year and hear another story about their new venture. They are on the hamster wheel; instead of just starting the marathon, they know they need to be on to achieve their financial goals.
Consistency. Routine. Discipline.
I often use the analogy of going to the gym or eating healthier with finances. We all know that eating healthy and regular exercise is excellent for us. But sometimes, we are looking for the instant gratification of our actions. After eating a healthy breakfast, we reward ourselves with greasy fast food for lunch, and after a week of working out, we take a month off as a reward. The key to our physical and financial health is the same: CONSISTENCY!
Brushing your teeth or showering once a month does nothing for our hygiene, the same as saving a couple of dollars one month but then blowing the budget and racking up credit card debt the next month, which does not help us achieve our financial goals. The common trait I have seen when working with what I would consider very successful retirees is that they have been in a routine savings schedule for what seems like forever.
Motivation is often fleeting, so I encourage everyone to have discipline. This means doing the things we don’t want to do when we don’t feel like it. Successful retirees are “boring” and in the best possible way! They have been doing the same thing for the last 30 years! Living slightly below their means and saving a good portion of their income. Sometimes, it really is that simple.
Keep It Simple
I, like many, am drawn to Dave Ramsey because of how simply he puts things. I believe in the KISS method of finance. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Live on less than you make, invest in retirement accounts, and forget about it. Do not get caught up in what the Fed will do with interest rates, the current president, or the ongoing wars. Keep saving and investing and look up in a couple of decades to monitor progress. On that same theme, the most successful retirees often worry about short-term investment returns the least. It is easy to say this is because they are financially secure, but what if it is the other way around? What if they are financially secure because they have NOT tried to time the market and have just stuck to a sound investment strategy? It is a combination of both, but you certainly can't discount the latter.
If you are thinking about your retirement and want to discuss strategies for your future, reach out to one of our financial advisors. Our advisors have the heart of a teacher to help explain the various strategies to help you feel more confident when making decisions for now and your future.
What successful retirees do
November 30, 2023
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