There’s a widely-known saying: “If there is a will, there is a way.” All in all, very true. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish great things. However, what if you don’t put your mind to it? Or, if your mind is telling you something that could stop you accomplishing your goals?
We often talk about head trash when it comes to losing weight or building our careers. We don’t usually associate it with building financial independence, but it’s a roadblock there as well. Financial freedom is something we all want. Being free from the Sturm und Drang of financial struggles is what we look forward to starting early in our careers. Nevertheless, we repeatedly stuff our heads with notions that stand in the way of our achieving it. Here are the most common head trash rationalizations we hear from our clients. Which one of these examples pops up too often in your thoughts?
1. “I never have any money left over at the end of the month. How can I save?”
It is true that it is getting more and more expensive to live these days. Just the cost of food is up 6% from last year. Our question to you is this: how many things did you buy last year that you didn’t really need? Did you buy a new ugly sweater for your company’s holiday party, then push it to the back of your closet? Did you go out to drinks with the girls or beer with the guys when you didn’t really want to? No one is saying you need to live in a hole and nibble on bread for sustenance. What we challenge you to do is really look at your spending each month. Were there things you could have done without or purchases you wish you hadn’t made? If you really want to find savings, you can. But how much do you want to?
2. “I missed the boat. I’m too old to start saving. I might as well not try.”
Let’s say Harriet goes to the doctor for her annual physical. The doctor examines her thoroughly and runs some tests. He calls her later to give her an update and says she is in good health for a 55-year-old, but he noticed her blood pressure is elevated compared with last year. She’s a bit young for elevated blood pressure so he recommends she cut back on salt and drink more water to see if that won’t bring things back to normal. What if Harriet responds, “I’m too old to salvage my blood pressure now. I’ll just leave it and hope for the best.” She says she doesn’t want to take medication either because it’s too late. How ridiculous! She’s still a young woman. She needs to take care of herself. The same is true of her financial future. She needs to address it. Starting now is always better than starting tomorrow, next week or next year.
3. “I’m too busy to think about putting a savings plan together.”
We are resuming our busy lives after the worst of the pandemic. We are seeing friends, possibly going back to the office, and just enjoying the ability to do things outside of our homes again. The kids are back in school and soccer practice is starting up. “When do I have time to think about a savings plan?” — that may be your response to the idea of planning for your financial future. Well, we all have time to bathe and brush our teeth, check our email, and go shopping. We make sure we keep up our ritual of having a cup of coffee and surfing the news each morning. Setting up a savings plan can be just as easy. Start by simply setting up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account. Then, in a month or so, take a few minutes to transfer any money that’s over your emergency fund limit to your investment account. Finally, make a note to yourself to look at your statements each month and check that you’re happy with what’s going on. Sometimes we make things so much more complicated than necessary. For some reason I hate going to get my car washed. I put it off and put it off. But when I finally break down and go, it’s never anywhere near as bad as I thought. Setting up some automatic savings plans and watching them can be the same. If you don’t know where to start, contact us at One Vision Retirement and we can help set one up for you.
4. “I put a certain percentage in my 401K every month. That’s all I need to do.”
It’s wonderful if you’re saving in your company’s retirement plan. That’s a great start. But do you know if you are contributing enough to hit your bucket list goals in retirement? Will it allow you to take that big trip every year in retirement? We have clients who only contributed to their 401Ks and are now retired. They complain about the taxes they have to pay and the required minimum distributions they must take each year. Maybe only contributing to your 401K needs to be reassessed. Investing for retirement can be tricky.
5. “I never plan on retiring. I’m just going to keep working until I die.”
Great! We love that you love what you do. No one says everyone must retire. In fact, some seniors don’t know what to do with themselves in retirement. We have a whole blog on this topic. Working later in life can help keep your mind agile and your body fit. Our job is to ask “What if?” In this case, what if your health won’t allow you to work anymore? What if your mind doesn’t stay as sharp as it is now and you aren’t able to read contracts well or remember to follow up with your customers? What if you just can’t do the work anymore? What will you have to live on? It’s always important to have some savings available, to have choices. Instead of having to work or retire, you want to have the option of retiring or not. When you have the power to choose, you have financial independence.
Brian Tracy repeatedly says, “To be wealthy you must develop a burning desire for wealth and financial independence.” When you start to have one of the five negative thoughts above, remember that “burning desire.” Banish your head trash by doing something that can actually make a difference to your future. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t have any money to save,” make a vow to set up an automatic contribution to your savings account. Whether that is for $10 or $1,000, you will have started to take control of your thoughts and actions. If you really want to save, you will.