Get started! Start over! Now is the perfect time! You are the perfect age!
Are you shaking your head wondering what in the world I’m talking about? I’m talking about your future, about making or updating a plan so your future self will have more financial security than your current self enjoys. You are really shaking your head now. Perhaps your mind is being bombarded with all the reasons why I’m wrong and this is not the right time for you; you’re too busy to deal with this. When you make more money, you’ll get started. You need more information. You’re barely making ends meet as it is. You think you have plenty of time to plan later …. The excuses are endless.
The same excuses generations of people have used may be the same ones you are using today. What are your excuses?
Do you realize that 45 percent of Americans have never saved a penny, and 50 percent of people could not come up with $400 if they needed it for an emergency? Have you? Could you? In a study that asked retirees about their biggest regrets, over 70 percent said they wished they had saved more money. Many people have no financial plan for their retirement. What about you?
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- Making the first step is critical. Doing nothing gets you nowhere, so just do it! Get started! If you don’t have an emergency fund, that is a great place to start. Putting away even a few dollars a week is better than doing nothing.
- Modeling your savings plan after someone else’s, like your parents’, a boss’s or a friend’s, may not be right for you. Your situation is just as unique as you are. One of the big ideas today is that there is some “new big thing,” and that is where you should put your money. If you don’t invest in the “new big thing,” you are missing out. This type of thinking and investing often can lead to devastating loses, especially for those who can’t afford to lose the money. Your plan should be customized and designed around you.
- Procrastination has a cost. For example, if a 25-year-old wants to have $1 million saved by age 65, projections say she would need to save $157 a month. That’s not so bad. But maybe she gets busy with starting a family, a new job, or life just gets in the way, and she delays starting her plan until age 35. She now must put away $439 a month to reach her goal — almost triple what was needed at age 25. If she waits until age 45, the amount increases to $1,306 per month. How can this be possible?
Compound interest is a big factor. Simply put, compound interest is the addition of interest to the principal sum of your savings; interest is then added to the interest you already have earned, thereby compounding. By delaying your plan, you must make up for the loss of compound interest by making larger payments.
If I can get one point across to you today, it’s this: Just start.
Each person has unique gifts and talents. You may be a creative person, a great thinker or an innovator. Perhaps you work in the medical field, or you are a teacher. Celebrate the gifts you have, but understand it’s not possible for you to know everything about everything. That is why when my car needs work, I take it to a mechanic.
You don’t have to navigate the financial landscape on your own. If you have been unsuccessful so far in preparing for your financial future, or if you have questions about your current direction, reach out to a financial professional and get the assistance you need so that your future self can have the life and retirement you dream of.