As a financial advisor, I have heard many interesting ideas from clients on how they are going to achieve their financial goals. Some are practical and achievable and some are just plain wacky. I plan to highlight the wacky ideas in my blog posts entitled “Wealth Strategies That Won’t Work.” My hope is that if you are someone who is relying on one of these that you will learn to let them go and actively pursue more practical avenues for growing your wealth and achieving your financial goals.
I have had many meetings where I ask clients how long they expect to work, and I can’t tell you how many times I get the response “I am never going to retire. I plan to work until I am 80 (or dead, whichever comes first)”. A number of clients who share this with me are younger, have no savings, and have dim future prospects for financial prosperity. While I understand that given their current picture, they may feel they have to work until 80, I have found that if they make smart Financially Blonde choices at an early stage in their lives, they will actually not have to work so hard and for so long. The choices are hard and require work and effort now, but in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you are young and have the energy to put in this work. I would much rather see people put in this energy now than have to work hard later on in life when you have less energy and want to slow down.
It’s easy to say you are going to work “forever” when you are 20 or 30 and retirement is so far away; however, I have many clients in their 60s who are looking retirement in the eye, and they are not financially ready to stop working. They are not ready, because they didn’t make “smart” choices along the way. In addition, they are tired from having worked the last 40 years. They would like to relax more and many of them need to relax more, but it is not a feasible option for them financially.
So I urge you not to think of working until 80 as an option for you in life. Start early making hard choices so you can make easier choices later in life. If you go out with friends every weekend, take a couple weekends a month off and stay in to preserve your cash. If you like to shop, can you make a few less trips a month? If you need a new car, can you wait or buy a less expensive car? I challenge you to use your youthfulness to make smart choices so that your 80-year-old self can relax instead of work.