A lot of traditional retirement planning advice is all about the future. The goal is to save as much as possible, maximize your retirement contributions, and find an investment strategy that offers the right combination of risk and reward. While each of these things is important, we see too many clients pour so much energy into thinking ahead that they miss the chance to enjoy the moment.
There’s nothing wrong with making a plan to enjoy your retirement, of course. Maybe you’re looking forward to having the time to travel, volunteer, or try out a different career. Perhaps you are saving for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or your forever home. But sometimes it’s good to take a step back and rethink your strategy. Are you missing out on something special right now because all you can see is the future?
Retirement Isn’t a Guarantee
Unfortunately, even the best retirement planning isn’t a guarantee that your post-work life will look the way you envision. You or your spouse might experience an injury or illness that compromises your travel plans. Another “once in a lifetime” pandemic may put the world on hold for a few years. The economy or political world may take an unexpected turn. There’s no way to know exactly what your life will be like when you reach retirement.
Maybe none of those things will happen, and your retirement will work out exactly as you planned. But that outcome isn’t guaranteed. And one of the saddest things we see is when people wait for retirement to do all the things they want but are unable to enjoy those things due to unforeseen circumstances.
Life Is Fleeting
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family is to decide to embrace where you are right now. Life is made up of seasons, and once one is gone, you can’t ever go back. For example, it may feel like your children will always be toddlers who try your patience and get into everything, but in reality, that phase is only a couple of years long. And you can never go back, no matter how much you may want to.
Every stage of life has its unique blessings and challenges. If you spend all your energy and financial resources saving up for the future, you may miss out on experiences that only come around once in a lifetime. Traveling the world when you retire is a wonderful thing to look forward to, but you only get a small window to take your children to Disneyland while they’re still young enough to believe in magic.
Embracing the Current Season While Looking Ahead
It’s normal to think about retirement and to worry about whether you’ll have enough money to support the lifestyle you want. And it’s definitely important to make financial decisions with retirement in mind. Saving and investing are excellent choices that can give you the best chance of being able to enjoy your retirement.
But it’s just as important to enjoy life right now. The “good years” don’t start once you turn 65; there are plenty of opportunities in every stage of life. Don’t miss out on the chance to raise your children in a home you love, make memories on an anniversary trip to Europe, or give the perfect holiday gift just because you’re worried about what will happen in the future.
Take the Opportunity to Enjoy Life Right Now
We see it all the time: Individuals or couples who are so focused on having enough for retirement that they forego every chance to do something fun or memorable right now. Saving everything for retirement can pay off, but it’s risky; many people end up getting to retirement without their health, their spouse, or the motivation to do the things they always planned.
It’s all about balance. Smart retirement planning means thinking ahead without ignoring what’s going on right now. At Guiding Wealth, we focus on helping every client make the most of their resources. With advice from a Certified Financial Planner™, you can make sure you’re prepared for retirement and also able to enjoy the unique opportunities you have right now.
Whether you want to start saving for retirement or modify your existing financial plan, we can help. We’ll take the time to learn what your priorities are and help you develop a financial strategy that honors them. Call us at 214-810-3835 or schedule a consultation online to get started.