Let me get right to it. You should never worry about retirement. Never. Life is too short to waste time worrying.
This is not to say you shouldn’t think about your financial future. Quite the contrary. No matter how young you are, it’s always good to plan ahead. But you shouldn’t worry about it.
Some people plan on never retiring. They love what they do and/or think they can’t ever afford to call it a day at work. But even if you are in one of these camps you should plan ahead and not leave your financial future to chance. If you like, forget about retirement per se. Instead, think about a future where you have more financial freedom. Everyone wants that…right?
Again, no matter how young or old you are, you can absolutely have more financial freedom if you are willing to do a little planning and take some action. Here’s how:
To improve your situation and have more freedom, the first step is to fully understand where you stand right now.
- Are you spending more than you earn?
- Do you know how much it costs you to live, on average, each month?
- Are you saving enough? Could you save more?
- Are your investments appropriate?
- Do you have enough saved for emergencies?
- If you keep going on your current path, where will you end up? Is that OK?
Once you answer these questions, you are ready for the next step.
Now that you fully understand your current situation, it’s time to get a clear picture of where you want to be 5, 10, 20 years down the line. If you have a spouse or life partner, sit down together and work this out together.
- Where do you want to live?
- What do you want to spend your day doing?
- Who do you want to spend your time with?
- How much is that going to cost?
Your next step is to build a bridge from where you are to where you want to be.
- How much money will you need to achieve your goals?
- Over what period of time?
- How much do you have to save each month in order to do that?
So far, the process I’ve described is nothing more or less than building a financial plan. Don’t be intimidated. Believe it or not, you actually can answer all these questions yourself and build your own plan for free. If you’d like some help, you can always contact me and I’m happy to join your team. But that isn’t required. Either way, I believe in you Pilgrim. Take the time and invest the energy to build your plan.
What If Your Bridge Can’t Be Built
It’s pretty easy to understand your current situation and identify what needs to be done. It’s harder to get ‘er done. Sometimes, the gap between where you are and where you want to be can’t reasonably be bridged. If that’s the case, it’s still not a reason to fret Jedi. Life is still good.
And here’s even better news. After you’ve run your projections, you’ll be very clear on which elements of your financial life require your attention:
- Is your spending under control?
- Are you saving all you can?
- Do you have the right job?
- Are you investing properly?
If you need to tune up in one or more of these areas, go to it. Be good to yourself and your family. Put all you can into these areas because the payoff is more financial security and freedom. Very worthwhile.
But once you’ve done all you can in these areas on your life, you can relax. When you can answer “yes” to all the above, you are doing all that you can. That being the case, there is no sense in worrying at this point. You’ll have to adjust what your future is going to look like but it may not be all that drastic.
Even if you don’t reach your ultimate destination, you’ll be doing the very best possible and that’s good enough. I am a big fan of not worrying about things beyond my control. I am not always good at remembering this, but I try.
Worrying about money is a big no-no. There are no benefits in worrying. It only saps your energy and makes for lots of grey days. Who needs it? Identify where you are, where you want to be and what needs to be done. Get to work and do the best you possibly can. Once you do that, what possible reason do you have to worry?
Are you worried about retirement? Why or why not?