Imagine you are standing at the end of a washed out bridge with people blindly driving your way all unaware of the fate that will behold them if they do not change their direction right away. You would, at the best of your ability, do all you could to get them to stop and go another way.
As a 50+-year-old genX-debt free-cancer survivor, I feel this way about many topics. Marriage, parenting, health, career, finances are all areas that by this point in life I have learned many lessons. Some through my own great mistakes and many through educated hard work successes.
My strongest obsession now for several years is a desire to retire without want. The journey began early in my working life when I first read The Millionaire Next Door. I was at the time single and making less than $25,000. It was amazing to learn at my young age that there is a path to wealth even for the average person.
That seed of hope was small and at the time did not take full root other than to get me started on a low level of 401K saving.
I went on to live a normal life of spending and debt just like most people. Then in the spring of 1998 cancer came in another effort to wake me up. Now I had a fear of possible unmet family needs. Would we have memory building experiences? How would the son afford college? If I were to die, would my wife be left with financial security? Along the way, I also experienced job insecurity with layoffs occurring around me on average about every 12-18 months. Thinking of retirement was not a priority in part because I was unsure really if I would have a job or live that long.
This little stew of experiences in some ways has left me pretty messed up.
So here I am soon to turn 52 and looking back while at the same time looking forward to a new stage of life. Retirement seems like an old man word but it looms as a possibility in just a few short years. Time does fly indeed and every day counts.
According to this source, the median savings of someone my age is $117,000. Twenty-five year old me would have considered that to be a lot of money. Fifty-two year old me understands it to be terribly out of whack compared to what will be needed by most people to retire at a reasonable age with dignity. The person with $117,000 most likely does not realize that to have even $48,000 in income at retirement a nest egg of 1.2 million is recommended. That is a slap you in the face keep you up at night big number. Of course, you have to be aware of the number and care about it for the hand to be motivated enough to give yourself a whack.
Dear people wake up and realize the end of the bridge is coming and there is no reason to keep driving towards it. You know what to do. Get out of debt, live below your means and start saving now for a future that is many years away for some and just around the corner for others.
Whys and whats are easy to dream about. It is in the hows that we get hung up but the reality is that with the plethora of resources available to us today there no excuse not to win. Those who do not are doing so by either conscious or unconscious choice.
I plan to win. Just as importantly to me, I want you to win too. Here some resources to get you started. Join me and we will win together.