A couple of years ago, I started doing some serious evaluating of my life and how well I was providing for my family. I started reading anything I could get my hands on in regards to finances. I made a choice to start living my life a little more intentionally. I wanted to stop feeding Today Me and start feeding Future Me. The result: I can honestly say that, for the first time in my life, I have 5 and 10 year plan for myself and my family. I think this is what determines which Me wins.
How does that work for you? What plans have you made for your future? Or do you have any?
My wife and I were talking about financial issues with some of the boys in our care last night. Elisa was laying out some statistics that she had picked up off of an article she had recently read about finances. She said that, based on age and current salary, every person should have a certain amount stashed away for their retirement. The demographics that she laid out stated that I should have about $75,000 set aside for my retirement at this point. Now, I feel like I am doing pretty good in regards to preparing myself for that moment but I am nowhere near that mark.
This could be a potential point of depression for me as I have a tendency to get down on myself when I feel like I am not hitting the mark in life. But, I remind myself that the majority of America is even further behind where I am in regards to saving for retirement. I read recently that most of America have less than $1,000 in savings. Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Either a lack of planning or apathy to our work life has caused many people to put off any kind of financial planning as they simply focus on getting by. There is a whole line of excuses that we use to explain off our unwillingness to better ourselves.
Disclaimer: The above photograph is the property of http://www.timemanagementninja.com. Please don’t sue me.
People, it’s not good enough to simply get by, especially if you have children. You are creating a perpetual cycle of financial distress that will affect you but also your children as they learn to follow your mistakes. Start making plans now. Do something different so that you can start putting money away now. If you have a company sponsored 401K then you need to put as much into it as you can afford. If you do not, find something more reliable than a savings account and put what money you can spare into it. Regardless, do something. Today is the day to get started on your retirement planning.
On top of that, pick up a side hustle. Maybe you have that entrepreneurial itch. Find a secondary income or, perhaps, even a third or fourth income to supplement what you are already making. You might say, “Zach, I don’t have time for all of this.” That may be true but surely you can rearrange some things in your life to create the time.
The opening paragraph of this post was something that I wrote almost a year ago, just as we were preparing to move to Virginia. Since then, I have begun writing a book (expected to be for sale on amazon by July) and am putting together some plans for a line of t-shirts (could be out before the book). The book is taking a lot of extra time and the t-shirts are practically falling into my lap. There is a balance there that we have to find. Sometimes you have to practically create more time to get things done. However, often times, the opportunities will come to us if we simply look for them.
One thing I know for sure. If you are working at a job that is barely allowing you to get by in life, there is no reason for you to believe that it will change tomorrow. Stop letting the job you hate drain the life out of you. Find something that is going to make you passionate and find a way to make money at it. Be more deliberate about what you are doing with your time.