Personal Finance Is Like Anything in Life, You Have To Do The Work

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

Hello Smart Money People,

Somewhere along the way in life it occurred to me that if you want to go somewhere, get something, be someone, you have to do the work. Period. The End.

Work takes planning, idea generation, trying, failing, starting again. The process never ends. I think people get confused that there is actually a destination. I don’t think there is. I think there is constant evolution and growth. Or the opposite. Stagnation and death (YIKES maybe I should insert another word here- this sounds harsh. But is it true so it stays).

A friend recently asked me how much should she and her husband have for retirement? Here is the short answer: I don’t know. But YOU can find out.

Ask yourself: What do you want retirement to look like? How long do you want to work? How much are you willing to save vs. spend to reach your goals?

It is all doable. It is a matter of whether or not you want to do the doing that is the question you have to ask yourself?

If you work backward to what you want and do the math you will find you have a few options:

  1. Knowing it is totally going to work out if you save “x” and work for the next “y” years.
  2. Finding out it is totally NOT going to work out and you will have to come up with a plan B.
  3. Not sure if it will work out doing what you are doing, but knowing you can change what you are doing and get a different outcome. Brilliant I tell you.

Ultimately it is all figuareoutable.

What do I do if it isn’t going to work out?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Make More Money. Find ways to make more money. Recently hubby and I started investing in real estate. Truth be told I do absolutely nothing in this venture EXCEPT that I followed our budget for the last 10 years that gave us the funds to actually invest. So there’s that. What I did was put together a class called Money 101 and I charge a fee to go to small businesses and teach their employees concepts and money management tips. Super fun!
  2. Evaluate your expectations for retirement. The goal should be to have no debt. No payments. Therefore your overhead should be greatly reduced from what it is today. Also, consider what you want to be doing when you retire. If traveling is your jam then realistically write out what you think you will spend on travel and save toward that goal. The point is, think about it.
  3. Seek out professional help. Bill and I saw a fiduciary a few years ago after reading Tony Robbins book Money. Mastering the Game. We gathered all of our paperwork and headed to see an expert. What we learned was, while we were doing really well, we could not retire in the next 2 years, as I had hoped, or we’d be broke by 80. So there was that. What I will say is we had a hard look at what we were doing and where we wanted to be and we made changes – like figuring out how to make more money.
  4. Live on less than you make. This is a novel idea and most people don’t do it. They live to the limit. However, when you live to the limit now you cannot ever advance your future. When Bill went back to school things were tight. Think Spandex shorts AND Spanks. TIGHT I’m telling you. However, we allowed for some fun money. Usually we splurged on pizza every Friday. It was something I took for granted until I knew it was a privilege. The choice we made was we prioritized Bill’s education over “stuff”. I did really enjoy those simpler times and even now I am a homebody, will make the meal myself and love to keep it simple. It is just a better way of life.
  5. Evaluate your choices. Every few months I have a breakdown about my clothes, my home and my “stuff”. I feel like all my clothes are worn, my hair could use a little lovin and the living room hasn’t seen a new throw pillow in a while. Then I think to myself “what is really going on sister?” Do you need to just get out of the house? Need a new pair of yoga pants? A haircut? I don’t live in a box or under a rock. I love nice things and I love to look and feel good. I just have to pause and say to myself “Self, what are you needing?” Then I make sure that what I “need” is a good choice.

So there you have it. A few insights from a couple on the path right along with you.

No matter where you are we are cheering you on and in full belief you can, do and be anything you want.

You just have to do the work!!

Much love,

Karen and Bill

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