Retirement. That scary, far off, boring, I-will-never-be-that-old, sitting-around-playing-golf word. I feel like so many of my friends, like myself, have not put much thought into their retirement, let alone started saving for it. And between trying to start our lives and pay off our college debt, who has the extra money anyway?
Well. Recently I started reading the most amazing book that inspired me to inspire others to start thinking about it. In fact the name of the book is “Retire Inspired” by Chris Hogan (you can find it here). I definitely encourage you to read it, especially if you are young and don’t think you need it, but I will do a very brief summery for you just in case. Before I do that though, let me share the most impactful section with you all.
“His name was Michael. He was one of my clients, and he told me a story I will never forget.
Michael got a call from his favorite aunt who needed him to cut her grass. He was more than willing to help; she had always been special to him. She was one of those people who dedicated her life to helping others.
He got up early on Saturday and loaded up his mower into his truck. His aunt was going to attend a function at church, and after they chatted for a while, her ride came and she was on her way. Michael went to work on the yard.
A couple of hours into the job, Michael decided to stop and eat. However, he had been in a rush that morning, and he had forgotten to pack his lunch. So, sweaty and hungry, he thought he’d just go find something to eat in his aunt’s kitchen. No big deal, right?
Michael opened the fridge, but all he saw was some out-of-date milk and a bottle of ketchup. He moved over to the cabinets but only found the dishes and cups. Finally, he checked the cupboard. That’s when his heart sank. The cupboard was completely empty- except for seven cans of dog food.
Michael paused. He looked me square in my eyes and his voice began to shake. He said the words I will never forget:
“Chris, my aunt doesn’t own a dog.”
-Chris Hogan, Retire inspired.
Basically, you need to start saving now. Like, right now. No matter what your age. Let me tell you why.
A) There is going to come a time where you don’t want to/can’t work anymore, and when that time comes, you need to have savings. This seems basic, but I know it can be hard to think that far ahead.
B) The way our economy is going, we flat out will not have Social Security to rely on. Even if we do, you don’t want to worry about running out of money when you are at the end of your life and need some extra care.
C) If you start saving now, the money will compound and you will end up with so much more than if you wait until the last few minutes. Basic math.
D) I recently read an article that said one million dollars, the long-standing measurement of a healthy retirement, is now inadequate for a decent living. The new number is about 1.2 million. Spread out over 30 or 40 years it is very possible to save that much, but if you try to cram it into ten years, it will be quite the struggle.
I could name off many other reasons, but I think you probably get the point by now. Saving early is a good idea.
Now, how do you do it? How do you save over a million dollars when it is so easy to spend it on things you need like , well, eating. Let me tell you the secret: having a bomb-a** retirement dream. Thats right, retirement is not just for sitting around and reading until you pass away! Retirement is the time to do whatever you missed out on while you were working so hard! You need to make a plan, a dream that really inspires you and makes you WANT to save. Even if your plan changes over time, you need to visualize what you are saving for.
I will share my family’s dream with you all, just to get you thinking and to put it out there. Don’t hold me to it though, because we are young and as I said, dreams can change.
When we retire I hope to have a farm refugee for elderly, abandoned, or wounded farm animals. That is my first and biggest dream, as I love animals and want to do whatever I can to give back. Our second dream, much more selfish, is to own a vacation treehouse in Costa Rica. Our last dream is for my husband to have the time to create video games, which he has never had the extra time or energy to do.
These are the things that keep us going. These dreams are not only a plan, they actively excite me and make me WANT to save. Thinking about the future and knowing that we are sacrificing for a good reason makes the struggle worth while.
You need to decide what your plan is and what makes you excited for the future. Do you want to travel? Volunteer for your favorite non profit? Fix up vintage cars? Be a member at a country club? Figure out what is worth your sacrifice and start saving!