“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago…The Second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
Preparing for retirement is like planting a tree. It is never too late to start, so, let’s get started!
11 Steps to a satisfying retirement
1. Daydream – How do you envision your retirement? Take time to think about what you really want to do with your life. Write it down. Goals are dreams with deadlines. What are the steps you need to take to fulfill your dream?
2. Stay healthy – Retirement will be much more enjoyable if you are healthy. You know what to do. Exercise, eat whole food, get good sleep, have healthy emotional relationships.
3. Start Early – “Compound interest is the Eighth Wonder of the World. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.” – Albert Einstein
The earlier you start saving & investing, the longer your earnings will compound, like a snowball getting bigger as it races down a steep slope.
4. Pay Yourself First – Automate your savings. Take advantage of employer retirement savings plans. Capture their match. Open a self-directed IRA at a discount brokerage.
5. Live a Thrifty Lifestyle – Don’t buy into “Unconscious Consumerism.” We are bombarded with messages to buy crap we don’t need to satisfy unmet emotional desires. Say no to unneeded debt. My favorite car is one which is paid for. Get a roommate. Cut the cable. Do free activities close to home.
6. Get an Education – A formal education will prepare you for a fulfilling career…But, be careful…Don’t get good at doing something you don’t enjoy doing. A practical education will teach you how to become self reliant. Learn how to manage your own money. Learn how to maintain your house and car.
7. Find your Passion – Follow your dreams. Do what you love. Combine your passion and career. I was fortunate to combine my love for flying and my love for writing into a satisfying TV news career.
8. Invest Wisely – I favor passive investing in low cost broad based index funds. You won’t be able to brag about beating the stock market…But, you will sleep better. When I was a stockbroker, I never met a day trader who consistently outperformed the market. Their short term returns were consumed by transaction costs and taxes.
9. Help Others – Be generous with your time and encouragement. Many of my retired friends give back by volunteering.
10. Enjoy Yourself – Try doing something you always wanted to do, but were scared to try. I enjoy Country and Swing dancing, playing Celtic and American music with fellow musicians, exploring new places to Paddleboard, visiting new places.
11. Leave a Legacy – Don’t be the richest guy in the graveyard. Give to others while you can see their enjoyment. An education is the one thing nobody can take from you. I contribute to College 529 Savings Plans for my grandchildren. After all…The Best Time to Plant a Tree was 20 Years Ago…