Are You Ashamed Of Your Retirement Plan?

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your retirement planWhat is your ?

I hope this question doesn’t come as an insult.

In my early 20′s I had no idea about what retirement is.  I was invincible, after all. My whole life stretched before me.

Then I got married.  That was 1997.  Before the Y2K.  Before all the markets crashed.  I read about investing in the stock market, and became fascinated with the idea of building a nest egg.

After marriage, I (and my wife), bought a home, and (I, not my wife) made some foolish mistakes along the way.

Suffice it to say, once the markets crashed and I had gotten myself into some business debt, my dreams of a retirement nest egg started to evaporate.

I took a requirement quiz last week to assess my retirement needs.  Oy vey!  According to that quiz, I have some serious thinking and re-thinking to do about retirement.

I was ashamed of myself. I began to think, “What if I don’t have enough to cover my living expenses?  What if the markets crash some more?  What if I can’t get rid of all my debt?  What if, What if, What if?!”

Words of Wisdom About A Retirement Plan

Some readers made me reconsider my shame after I read some of their comments about the quiz.

Here’s a great point from Marquita Herald of Inspired Gift Giving said this:

I confess I have such mixed feelings about focusing on retirement. Having spent most of my life in the travel industry, I have seen way too many people wait until retirement to take their trip of a lifetime – only to be too old to enjoy the trip. Then there was my Dad who died 6 months after he retired. I have to believe there is a middle ground where we can manage to enjoy life today and still avoid having to resort to eating cat food to survive in our old age.

In 2007, Tim Ferris wrote The 4 Hour Workweek.  According to Wikipedia,  this book has spent more than four years on the The New York Times Best Seller list, has been translated into 35 languages, and has sold more than 1,350,000 copies worldwide.

While you may disagree with some of Ferris’ ideas, he challenged delayed retirement.  Instead, he talked about ‘lifestyle design,’ and repudiated the traditional ‘deferred’ life plan in which people work long hours and take few vacations for decades and save money to relax after retirement.

My Retirement Plan

As I think about my retirement plan, I ask myself, “What should my thinking, attitude, and emotional response be, based on a Christian worldview?”

Here are some thoughts.

Don’t Worry

Jesus Christ told his followers not to worry about food, clothing, and material needs, but rather to focus on honoring God and helping others (Matthew 6.25-33).  I don’t think His words refute all the other Scriptural wisdom of giving generously to others, saving diligently, and avoiding debt, but He did not want worry, fear, and anxiety to dominate His followers minds.  Rather, He knew that when they lived in the present, committing themselves to their Provider, they would receive what they needed.

And so, as we seek to have a right relationship with Him  and with others, we can give, save, and avoid debt, knowing that He will provide for us all of our lives.

But Be Wise

I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class with my wife.  It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Here are the 7 Baby Steps to get you on the right track for your retirement plan:

  1. Save $1000 to put into an emergency fund
  2. Pay off all consumer debt (that would be everything except for your mortgage) using the debt snowball.
  3. Save 3-6 months of living expenses.
  4. Invest 15% of all household income into Roth IRA’s and pre-tax retirement vehicles.
  5. Start saving for college funding for your children.
  6. Pay off the home early.
  7. and give.

Invest In Key Areas of Your Life

The key areas I’m talking about would be health, career, family, relationships, and spirituality.

Poor health will cost a lot of money in retirement.  If we aren’t learning new skills and taking on new projects, our careers will stagnate.  If we don’t pay attention to our family and other key relationships, our emotional health suffers.  And spirituality makes a huge difference, especially to a Christian.

Take Time To Build Your Platform

Michael Hyatt is the author of Platform: Get Noticed In a Busy World.

I’ve not read the book, but intend to.

Here are other books and blogs that have convinced me to build my internet marketing presence online to create another stream of income for retirement.

your retirement plan successThe 4 Hour Work Week.  As mentioned above, Tim Ferris provides paradigm shifting thoughts and strategies about lifestyle design.

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog.    Pat will educate you on passive income, particularly online.

Leslie Samuel’s Become a Blogger Blog.  Leslie shows you how to build your blog into a vehicle to change people’s lives.

The Personal MBA Blog, to help you master the key concepts of building a business.

Internet Business Mastery Blog.  If you decide to sign up for their premium class (I’m not a member, but I’m a long time listener to their podcast), you won’t be disappointed.  I plan to sign up down the line, once I’ve saved the required money within my Baby Step retirement plan.  These guys are all about internet business and how to master it.

Late Night Internet Marketing with Mark Mason Blog.  Mark will give you a lot of specific strategies.  Furthermore, he works a full-time job and internet markets part-time, so I can relate to him.

Are You Excited About Your Retirement Plan?

Enjoy the present!  Plan for the future!  Take care of all areas of your life.  Do the 7 Baby Steps.  And learn about internet marketing!   That’s my retirement plan.  What’s yours?

photo credits: thelearnr, andbenedictfrancis

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  1. says

    HI Stephen! I did think about my retirement plan when I was in my 20′s and I added to this faithfully my whole life and knew I had time so went the risky route well need I say more.. Yep I pretty much lost everything and had to start all over. I did make a few wise real estate investments so at least I have a start.. I do like Mary’s comment though, we may as well enjoy our money while we are here because we all know you can’t take it with us! But then again what if we do live to be 100!! I guess that is why we do what we do HUH? This post does make one think.. Thanks for sharing .. Chery :)
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Be Ok With Who You Are And Where You Are NowMy Profile

    • says

      Chery, we all live and learn the hard way. I’m glad you had the foresight and discipline to start young, even if you did lose a big portion of it :( But now you’re picking yourself up and working on a business that you care about. You’re giving value to others, and hopefully that value will be compensated over time to take care of you in retirement (through your current investments, and your internet business).

  2. says

    Hi Steven,

    Thanks so much for reminding all of us about the importance of planning for our retirement. I like your 7 baby steps and think that it is a really great way to start being prepared. I also agree with Tim Ferris that we need to enjoy our life along the way and take the time to do some of things you want to do in life instead of only focusing in on delayed retirement plans.
    Shelley Alexander recently posted…4 Amazing Benefits of Seasonal EatingMy Profile

    • says

      Shelley, you said it so well. I don’t think I have anything more to add. I’m working on my baby steps right now, and continuing to learn more and more about mastering internet business around causes I am passionate about.

  3. says

    As I look forward to building my financial portfolio, this article has really helped me make a beginning outline of what I need to prepare for. Thans for following up to the qui you did in the past week. I really enjoy the bible scripture you addded in it. It is nice to be reminded about his guidelines and what ot remember.
    Kyle Nelson recently posted…The Proper Way of Choosing a Domain Name for SEOMy Profile

  4. says

    I love those 7 steps Stephen, the debt snowball is very popular here in the UK (it must be for me to have heard of it). I appreciate you openness in this post, it couldn’t have been easy baring your soul this way, but I appreciate that you did. I can see your strength and that your advice now has twice the value it did thanks to your experience.
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…13 Tips for Kindle FormattingMy Profile

    • says

      Sarah, thanks for the encouragement! I do hope my experience adds value and helps other readers in reducing their debt and building wealth the right way.

  5. says

    Wise words, Steve. We were married 31 years ago, and I wish we could have seen our way clear to plan for retirement. We always wanted to, but were never able to squeeze anything out of the paycheque for any kind of savings. We never ever had any extra to make bad decisions with. We had just enough to cover what was in the budget, with nothing left over.

    My husband just turned 65, and we are very thankful there has been no talk of his company retiring him. VERY thankful, because our youngest is only 13! God is taking care of us as He always has, but it’s always better when we plan ahead.

    Willena Flewelling recently posted…FOCUS on One ThingMy Profile

    • says

      Willena, it sounds like you may have done the best you could with the resources you had. I remember hearing one Christian leader talk about how his mother and father never “planned” for retirement. This man’s father was a pastor who never asked anyone for money, just trusted God to provide. He felt God say to him, when he was dying, that He would take care of his wife. His wife, this Christian leader’s mother, ended up having received a large gift of Apple stock, before Apple became big. Needless to say, she was provided for in her retirement. So, your point that God takes care of us is really the most important thing to remember.

  6. says

    Hi Stephen,

    I am beginning to think about my retirement…finally. I have spent all of my life with ‘instant gratification’ as my theme. Interestingly, my mentor told me years ago that planning for retirement was indicating that one does not believe that there will always be enough. He said that we are visualizing” a future day when we will not have enough; consequently, we forego something in the present. Something to think about. Of course, when I share that with most, the conversations starts with “realistically speaking…”
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…Give What You Need, Give What You WantMy Profile

    • says

      Your mentor has a point, but we don’t want to sacrifice wise planning in the process. I think there is a balance between hoarding and responsible saving.

  7. says

    Hi Stephen,

    I too didn’t give a hoot about retirement when I was younger. I did work for a short time on Wall St. and the Fashion Industry way back when. But for the past 30 years, I have been running my own business. I “woke up” after the crash. I took it as a good time to start investing. I started in Real Estate at the crash and cashed in pretty well. I purchased all with cash and still like to do that. Just moving money around is kind of fun for me to do. I run 3 businesses and love it. As long as I have energy, I think I’ll be OK.

    I don’t think I’ll ever retire unless I get sick or die. I have set up my plan – a little later in life – but it is working so far.

    But I must say out of your seven steps, I like number 7 the most. If we do not give a portion of what we make, we will have a different outlook towards our finances. I love when I can flip a house and give a certain percent to a personal charity. I don’t like giving to big organizations, but rather look around my own village and see what is needed. Giving gives me incentive to make more money.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…11 Limiting BeliefsMy Profile

    • says

      Donna, you sound like quite the resilient entrepreneur! Good for you that you were able to buy your property investments with cash only! And I agree with you on Baby Step 7. On the one hand, it provides the motivation for the prior six steps. On the other hand, the first six steps make step 7 possible. Thanks for your input!

  8. says

    If I should answer your title honestly, my answer would have to be Yes. I’m ashamed of my retirement plan because I have none. We do have savings, but haven’t done any of the things you suggested in your article. I guess the time to plan is right now.

    I do like to give money to help other people. I never want to be the person who saves all my money for my own personal use.
    Anne @ confidence blog recently posted…How To Change Your FeelingsMy Profile

    • says

      Anne, there are some people who would actually say that retirement is an outdated concept. However, I do think there is Biblical wisdom in saving. The general principle is to be wise stewards of what we have; to save diligently; and to give generously. Giving has a great way of preventing greed in our lives.

  9. says

    Excellent tips on retirement planning, Stephen. I’m not ashamed of my retirement plan because I do have it, I’m just worried it will not be enough. I like the breakdown you listed above, it’s something practical and easy to follow. I will definitely add those to my list and start implementing rightaway. Thank you!
    Cherrie Bautista recently posted…The Pursuit of Happiness: Characteristics of Happy PeopleMy Profile

  10. says

    I would have to say yes. We save but the only investments are done via the plan set up through my husbands job. I don’t think we put enough into it even though it is doing well. To be where we would like I think we need to amp up our savings and add more to our investment plan. Thank you Stephen for the advise.

  11. says

    It is only in this century (or the last one, I guess) that retirement has been a goal. Many businesses were run by individuals or a couple of people and they worked until they died. It gave their life meaning because what they had was what they made themselves.

    Enjoying our lives while we are living them is an ever so much more fun way of viewing the world. And when we have good work and important things to do, our lives are richer and more satisfying. This is an excellent post, thank you for writing about this topic.
    Michael Shook recently posted…How To Get Positive Thinking TipsMy Profile

  12. says

    Hey Stephen,
    I have been “retired” since 2000… but still work hard everyday haha :-)

    Retiring for me was just to get away from working for someone else and it is working very well.

    I remember when after only 4 years at my last job when we received a notice that we can retire any time we want and so I went directly to the office and said, “I want to retire now”.. the boss looked at me and start laughing… then when he calmed down he said to me “you are joking right?” I say well, no.

    No I said, I am serious because I want to know how can I retire right away and wanted to know if is possible and how much will I receive a month.

    When he noticed I was not joking, he said to me, in order to be able to retire you need to have a minimum of 29 years service and your age must be (I do not remember how old) and at that time I said, ok I am joking but I will be back as soon as I know I can and I did in year 2000.

    Thanks for reminding me about it.. it was fun.
    nick catricala recently posted…What you do or say when….My Profile

  13. says

    Stephen—great post! My Father “retired” when he was 65 from working for someone else but he didn’t slow down for years! Finally his health overcame his ability to work and he was forced to a rocking chair. His “meaning” left his life. It was not long before he did too. . . . I never intend to retire. . . that is not to at all say I reject the prudence of planning and preparing for a time when I and my wife may still have life without the possibility of doing activities that bring in an income. . . . You are right on—biblical wisdom calls us to that. .
    Gene Call recently posted…Short Sale MissMy Profile

  14. says

    A lot of people like Dave Ramsey, it makes a lot of sense. The only point I disagree with him is that cash is king. If you listen to Robert Kiyosaki he said cash is trash. I think one must take the cash they have accumulated and put it into investments of necessity. I don’t think retirement is in my future. Like you point out, the planning wasn’t there. Hard subject to discuss.
    Rick Lelchuk recently posted…Between Fantasy and Reality – ImaginationMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Rick. I hear what you are saying. I think Dave has emphasized cash because he works every day with people who are victims of taking our credit they did not have the ability to handle. And I’ve been guilty of that myself. So the emphasis on cash helps with controlling our spending. For example, when I have used cash only, it “pains” me to part with the cash. I am therefore much more careful with how much I spend. On the other hand, when I’m using a credit card or even a debit card, I tend to spend about 15 to 30% more.

  15. says

    I was one of the lucky ones. I taught at an elementary school and quit at the end of the first semester. My mother yelled at me all weekend for giving up a “secure” teaching job with a pension. I got a job the following Monday at a Recording company as Executive Secretary, the Boss’ personal secretary. I loved that job but my Uncle lectured me to “go back to teaching. It’s the best job for a woman.” So then I went back to graduate school and got a high school teaching position in Health and Physical Education. I left that job too and secured a college teaching position while finishing my doctorate. I stayed there for 25 years and took an early retirement package. However, I had also worked part time as a sex therapist and mental health counselor because I never wanted to have to totally depend upon the college for my income. That was all a wise choice. Now I have a full time counseling practice and I am pursuing a virtual coaching business – it feels a bit like getting my doctorate all over again – hard work, continual learning and study, and a long process to endure before the rewards come in.

    Very important article you have written.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Love is Ending – Divorce is NearMy Profile

    • says

      Hard work, continual learning and study, and a long process to endure. I love that last part of your comment, and it may be the subject of a new blog post for me some day! There’s a lot of wisdom in the path you’ve taken, Dr. Erica. Like you, I am grateful for my part-time work as a therapist. Like you I have never wanted to depend on one job for my primary income. And, like you, I am continuously learning how to build an online business that will help others and also be profitable.

  16. says

    Hi Stephen. I’m living my retirement plan – LOL. My husband is disabled, and I am unemployable – I could never stand the idea of working one job until retirement. I think the most important thing is to take care of our own needs so we won’t be a burden on others. However, considering the number of people – particularly men – who drop dead within a short time after retirement, I’ not sure that retirement is such a good idea. I may take it easier in a few years, but I always want to have something to do. I’d go crazier than I already am!

    In addition, people are finding that what they thought would be a comfortable retirement … isn’t. That’s why I am focusing on helping
    helping Baby Boomers like me to develop and income stream so they don’t have to work as Wal-Mart greeters :)

    Thanks for this well-thought-out post.
    Leslie Denning recently posted…Manifesting Miracles With Manifest QuestioningMy Profile

    • says

      Leslie, I absolutely love your story! You know, I used to dread the idea of being a Walmart greeter. But then think of the money they are saving by having their benefits taken care of! I know of very successful entrepreneurs who work at Starbucks or other establishments mainly for their health insurance, and then they sell real estate or do other types of business full time. I love your mission of helping Baby Boomers develop their income streams. That’s what I’m hoping to do for Gen X :)

  17. says

    I have always been aware that I would have to make an effort to start saving and build a good foundation for my retirement. It hit even harder after I had my son. Frankly, living comfortably and not being a burden to anyone is something we should all think about as I have seen some fairly sad cases because of no preparation.

    • says

      Nile, you make some fantastic points. I personally don’t want to have my kids having to worry about me as their just getting started with their own families. Thanks for the reminder.

  18. says

    Stephen, in this current financial climate I think a lot of people have found themselves in the same situation. Taking the simple steps you mention will help prepare people for the future…whatever it might bring

  19. says

    Hi Stephen,
    I qualified as an actuary when I was much younger which meant that I calculated people’s life expectancies for my work. And based on life expectancy, we calculated their life insurance and pension values. I knew then that I should be starting to save for my retirement aged 21. Do you think I took heed of what I knew? Of course not! That is youth for you. I love Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and I believe it should be prescribed to all people whatever their spiritual beliefs. My husband and I are currently working through the Baby Steps and have just seen our debt snowball starting to roll. After each suffering divorce, years of child costs and study costs due to change of career along with the market crashes you mention, debt management is a must. We also believe in tithing and since we began this practice, our blessings have multiplied. I know this is a difficult subject for many including Christians.

    Thanks for sharing valuable information.
    Clare recently posted…Network Marketing Success: How to Professionally Invite Someone?My Profile

    • says

      Clare, you are so right on! Knowledge isn’t power, and I knew all the right things to do at age 21, but God is gracious, and I’ve seen Him provide and shape my character despite my mistakes. You’re right: tithing is truly a blessing. What I’ve found challenging is to stay faithful to reviewing our budget consistently (every week), and using cash for food and miscellaneous expenditures. When I do these things, my finances trend upward.

  20. says

    Retirement is a funny thing. I was out to eat last night, and was sitting next to a couple that had to be in their 80′s. They just had one complaint after another, it was exhausting to listen to and I caught waiter’s eye a few times. I felt sorry for him. All I could think about was, I hope I’m not that miserable if I make it to my 80′s. They could have 10 million in the bank, there still miserable. I see this with many over 75. They are painting a picture of a glorious retirement.

    Find something you love and work until you die. There’s so much emphasis to save for retirement that most probably miss out on a ton of experiences during years where it would be much more enjoyable. There’s some balance that has to be found and followed, but don’t forget live life today. It might not be here tomorrow.
    Steven Hughes recently posted…How to Contribute to a Blog and be SeenMy Profile

    • says

      Steven, you make some excellent points. There are so many people who “retire” and are miserable afterward. Investing in a meaningful business, to me, is a great way to provide for self and others, while being engaged in work we are passionate about. The Scripture that says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”, reminds us that we need to invest in relationships and character development and our relationship with God. Money by itself is a cold companion. Just ask Howard Hughes.

  21. says

    Hi Stephen,
    Forget all the jargon & great advice.
    To out it simply we all need to plant your apple, orange & peach trees (superannuation/real estate/investments) for the future & we also need to keep growing your vegetables (work/job/wages/own business) to feed us every day.
    When we do this, as God say, there is no need for us to…………..worry.
    Now that we are young, strong, healthy & vital we need to keep feeding our trees & vegetables so that we will have a harvest that will provide for us when we are older.
    Best wishes & have fun.

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