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