Sorry folks, I’m a little slow getting this post done today!
Thinking back on the past week of life in the sandwich, it hasn’t felt much like sandwich living. The kids are taking care of themselves. Mom is adapting to living in her apartment at the manor. D is back from Tucson and a symposium put on by a software supplier. And I’ve caught up on most of my work obligations.
Actually, it was a big work week in the home office. I’m providing back office support for a consulting partner which, in this case, means building a new software tool to help in research on certain behaviors and core competencies. We anticipate this may become a full-fledged performance support package, so it has to be designed from the ground up to be converted from a stand-alone application to a commercial product. Extra time invested now makes a big difference in effort later.
Funny how extra effort early makes things easier later. Retirement (to which I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately) is a good case in point. So many young people these days forgo the opportunity to invest in their own future for the sake of spending it on today’s desires and whims. But a few extra dollars invested in a retirement plan every week pays such big dividends down the road, what with the miracle of compounding. Our parents got that message, encouraged by the great depression of the thirties and early forties. We got that message through the economic crunch of the late seventies and early eighties. I’m hoping our kids are getting that message through the recession of the last few years and the jobs crunch we seem to be continuing to experience.
We shouldn’t count on Social Security being around in its present form when the younger crowd approaches retirement age in thirty years. Unfortunately, by then it will be too late to build much of a nest egg to carry them through what will likely be a much longer post career life than we can look forward to.
So Grasshoppers, even though I haven’t been able to follow this advice to the letter over the last thirty years, here’s my best retirement planning advice. First render unto Caesar that which is his; in other words, pay your taxes. Second, if you are a believer, render unto God that which is His; ten percent of your income. If you are not a believer, do some good with your income and give ten percent of it to the charities of your choice. What goes around comes around folks. Third, commit ten percent of your earnings to your own future – your retirement; if you can do it pre-tax, great, but just do it! And fourth, commit ten percent of your earnings to the present – save it for activities and things that will make your life happier and more pleasant. Budget the rest, and if it doesn’t go far enough, look for more income opportunities.
That’s really tough advice to follow, I know. But I also know people who have followed it, and it’s always worked to their benefit. Most of the people I know who tithe have had their gifts returned many-fold. Simple mathematics tells us that investing for retirement early will result in the accumulation of major financial resources you can draw on in thirty or forty years. And saving for now keeps you free of those pesky little interest charges on your credit cards, since you can pay for those extras with your own money!
Well, that’s about all the wisdom for today, Grasshoppers. And mostly it’s just common sense. Take it from an old guy who learned from the school of hard knocks, and continues to learn, even today.
Getting smarter about getting older…