We all read headlines about Americans not saving enough for retirement and I have a theory to explain this.
Americans are inherently optimistic and I believe that a lot of that comes from growing up on fairy tales. As we age Prince Charming and fairy godmothers are replaced by fantasy literature and movies. Just look at the ever-present “chick flicks” many of us love. The reintroduction of Marvel heroes on the big and small screen is no surprise as their reception is bringing in boatloads of revenue from viewers both young and old.
The problem is that, while we are sure everything will work out just fine, our reality is waiting for our attention. The “happily ever after” of retirement is actually being postponed by many and for others is as much fantasy as it is in fairy tales. Many others worry that they may not have enough for the “happily ever after” they have in mind.
Are we wrong to escape our day to day pressures through fictional literature and entertainment? Absolutely not, particularly as this often reduces the stress our bodies must deal with the rest of the day. Yet, we need to set aside time to look honestly at what we are doing to prepare for “later.” For many of us retirement will last a VEEEERY long time and we need to address that seriously.
What can we do?
- Review if we are really setting aside all we can. How much “fluff” is there in our budgets? (Believe me, we all have “fluff”.) Giving up a few things today will produce big rewards later when we really need them.
- Determine that we are setting aside our resources in the most advantageous places. Being too safe may be as dangerous as being too risky.
- Improve our health. What we eat, how much we exercise and how much stress we put our bodies through will determine how many of our retirement dollars will need to be allocated to healthcare expenses.
It all sounds very easy, so why not take the first step to taking control of our personal “happily ever after”? There are plenty of resources online with terrific tools to help determine how much we will need and how to get to where we need to be. Many of our friends are in the same boat as we are so comparing notes and making joint commitments may work for some of us.
The one thing we should NOT do is to sit around waiting for our fairy godmothers to come and bail us out. I believe they are too busy sprinkling pixie dust on sleeping children, which is really why they exist.
For help in planning your Happily Ever After, call us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. – We are here to help!