So much of the information we are exposed to regarding retirement deals with delayed gratification. Like many things in life, I believe balance is key. In my practice, I run into a lot of very disciplined savers who are delaying for a future that may never come. I don’t simply mean this in a morbid sense, but in a sense that many of us have never thought about. During my time at Siena College I ran a program called the Youth Conservation Corp up north in St. Lawrence County. My direct boss, named Bob, was the local County Forester. Driving in the truck one day, he gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me over the past couple decades. He said, “Conor, if there is something you really want to do, do it today, because as you age, it is likely that you will not feel the same way”. I believe it is common to think about your future from your mindset today. The reality is, that for most of us, the way we feel changes and evolves overtime.
If we believe that, what do we do about it? The answer is multifaceted, but to begin with, I would suggest that we take a hard look at our liquidity. I am not just referring to your “emergency fund” but liquidity as it relates to opportunities. When clients meet me in one of my offices, it is common for me to see the bulk of their savings stockpiled in various Qualified Plans such as 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, and IRA’s. I am not suggesting that these are not valuable retirement vehicles, but by design, they are not traditionally meant for easy liquidity or short- term goals.
Based on my own life experiences, liquidity is equally as important as long-term savings. I believe that many people will never see all of the opportunities around them because they don’t have the liquid reserves to take advantage of those opportunities. If I had planned the way many Americans plan, I never would have been able to buy my dream home on Lake George as a 37 year old. In addition to my wife Lisa, my three young children have had the opportunity to never know life prior to Lake George. I work hard, but the personal planning I have done has allowed me to enjoy my life’s dream now.
This article was not designed to give all of the answers but rather to get you to think. Certainly, I would welcome a conversation should any of our readers choose to take that step.