With retirement on the horizon, all the investment tricks and complicated strategies melt away under the heat of just one thing…the need to increase your income to outpace ever-increasing living expenses. If you’re on track to accomplish this aim, you’re a winner. If your trajectory won’t take you there, you’re a loser, financially speaking.
The Fragile Decade
The five years before retirement and the first five years in retirement are sometimes called The Fragile Decade. In many ways, this timeframe is the most important decade in your life since decisions that you make and action steps that you take while you are at the end of your working life will stay with you for many years. Things you do, as well as, things you don’t do during this time have a long-lasting impact.
Don’t Get Distracted
Distraction is the enemy of winning in your financial life. Emotions distract you from enduring facts in favor of what author Nick Murray calls “expiring facts.” Expiring facts are the kind that develop whenever the stock market declines for a few days in a row. Yes, it’s a fact that declines happen but the more relevant facts, (assuming you are interested in building higher income over time), are found within the context of more than 90 years of market history. Financial winners aren’t distracted by transitory facts.
You’re a winner if you save and invest so that you will have mostly good choices to make in retirement instead of a string of bad choices. If you have the money to sustain your lifestyle for the balance of your life, then you have the freedom to decide what’s in your best interest. If you don’t have sufficient financial resources, you essentially lose this freedom and others may end up making decisions for you.
You Control Your Choices
As you begin to transition from working and making money to being retired and spending money, it’s crucial to understand what you can control and what you can’t. You can’t control the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market. You can’t control taxes, inflation, or politics. You can control the choices and decisions you make. These choices should reflect your view of the probabilities that they will take you where you want to go financially. Above all else, remember that you don’t control the particular outcomes, just the probabilities.
Financial winners are able to place more emphasis on the destination and less on the daily obstacles that appear along the path. The more clarity you have about the destination, the less tempted you will be to react emotionally. Start there. Ready for a real conversation?