When my grandparents retired in the 1980s, they couldn’t have been happier. Yes, the economy was crazy, and prices were rising, but when aren’t they? My grandparents knew they had a long life ahead of them full of fun and adventure!
I still remember viewing endless hours of home videos they recorded while driving countless miles in Alaska in hopes of seeing a Grizzly Bear or Moose! Needless to say, if they ever did encounter one, either the battery or VHS tape had exhausted long before then.
I remember wondering what it was they did all day, every day during those years I was growing up. They were both available to come watch our baseball games, take us out for ice cream, and generally spoil us rotten.
That was then…
My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and my grandmother a lifelong Bank of America employee. Both received pensions and Social Security when they retired, and had more than enough money to cover the bills each month. They lived modestly and didn’t have large amounts of debt, so they could afford those annual trips to Alaska, Montana, and anywhere else Grandpa could tow that old Prowler!
People still yearn for those retirement years when they can spoil their grandchildren and explore the world they never had time to when they were working.
Unfortunately, It’s a New Era!
Anymore it isn’t uncommon for people to work until they are 70, 75, or even 80 years old to support their lifestyle! Inflation continues to plague our every purchase, and people on fixed incomes find they have less to look forward to than their parents.
A recent study shows that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2037, and the costs of keeping up with disability insurance will far outpace the revenue in years to come. As a result, anyone who is hoping for a truly “Golden” retirement like my grandparents enjoyed is sorely mistaken.
In order to live a life of freedom and fulfillment, the way people play the financial game must change. If you want to have a fulfilled future and inspired lifestyle, here are a few of my suggestions that are expanded upon in my book:
- Create a Wealth Account You Do Not Touch. At least 10% of your gross income should go straight into this account each month, preferably at another bank than your normal checking account.
- Focus First on Education, Then Investing. Most people jump right into investing in anything, without giving it so much as a second thought. Even if your financial advisor encourages you to invest, spend some time educating yourself on the pros and cons first.
- Don’t Stretch Today and End Up Hurting Tomorrow. We all want to keep up with the Joneses, and as a result we buy a little too much house, a nicer car than we need, or more food and clothes than one person should have. As a result, when we need to put money in our wealth account, we simply don’t because we stretched ourselves too thin.
- Become the Captain of Your Destiny. Everyone assumes someone else will be there to help us out if we fall on our face. We like to hope this is true, but don’t rely on anyone other than yourself to create your ideal lifestyle. After all, if you won’t create it for yourself, who will?
We spend so much time on instant gratification and 140 character lifestyle choices that we forget that life really is long and difficult at times. Spend more time thinking long term and educating yourself now so you don’t regret it later. When you are an arthritic 80 year old greeter at Wal-Mart, you are probably going to curse all those impulse Amazon purchases you made on your smart phone!