When are your retirement dreams most at risk?

At what stage of life are your retirement dreams most at risk?

Not in your 20s and 30s.  That’s when you’re just getting started.  Time is on your side.  Not only that, but you have some fire in your belly and you’re ready to make your mark on the world. 

Not in your 60s either.  By then you can see the finish line.  Your goals are within reach.  You’ve run a good race and you’re anxious to transition into an exciting new phase of life.

The most dangerous time is in your 40s and 50s.  You no longer have that new car smell and you’re still a long way from the finish line.  You’ve probably been hit by a few obstacles and setbacks in life.  You’ve had the wind knocked from your sails a time or two.  Your dreams aren’t quite as clear as they used to be.  It’s easy to get discouraged, sidetracked or blown off course.

I’m entering that phase of life now, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to stay motivated and on track.  If you’re there too, here are a few ideas:

  • Meet with your adviser to make sure you know exactly how much you need to save to fund your retirement.   Sometimes the easiest way to stay motivated is to know where the finish line is.
  • Answer the question “What do I really want out of life?”  Maybe the answer has changed over the years.  Maybe you’ve just lost site of what’s important to you.  Either way, once you know what you really want out of life you can allocate your time and set goals that align with your priorities.  In other words, let your passion and purpose drive your to do list.
  • Bring the finish line closer.  Rather than waiting a decade or two until retirement, retire today.  Start with version 1.0 and then add features as you go.

How about you?  Do you want your middle years to be a pivotal time of progress or the period when the wheels came off the bus?  Me too.  Let’s get to work.

Joe

Photo by Kevin Harber.  Used under Creative Commons License.

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