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Are You Doing Enough Today For Tomorrow?

The Rabbit Hole of Retirement

For all self-employed people saving for the time when you want to work less and play more is as crucial as the product or service your business is providing. That being said, it ain’t always easy but it must always be a significant part  of your monthly, quarterly or yearly plan. If not then what’s going to happen when the world no longer wants your product or service or you choose to no longer provide it? Dog food and newspaper blankets? Drastic for sure but you get my point. Plan, prepare and enjoy or else your later years will not be much fun. Or comfortable.

I’ve been saving and planning since 1983. I’ve had many good years of savings and investment growth and several years of it going the other way. The point is to get in the game. If you don’t play in some form or fashion then you don’t have any room to complain when you come up empty. I had a friend who worked very hard as an auto mechanic for years…supported his wife, two kids and his mother. Admirable for sure but he didn’t take care of himself or his future. I kept urging him to put something away. Even 50 bucks a month. Just begin the process. Get used to putting something aside, it gets easier each time you do it. He didn’t listen. Said his kids would take care of him like he did for his mom. Well he got hurt and working on cars was more difficult. His wife left him (that’s another story), his kids grew. His mother passed. The business he worked at was sold out from under him and he was let go. Last time I saw him he was living in a guest house trading rent for handyman favors around the property. Pathetic.

I know others in the same boat and while I feel for them, it was on them to do something and they didn’t. I know it’s a struggle. But you have to do something. Period. Remember nobody loves you like you mother. And sometimes not even her. So you gotta do it for yourself.

What can you do to begin? Read up on the terms used in the investment industry: stocks, bonds, returns, dividends, etc. Get familiar with the terms. Understand what they try to do. Understand the concept of risk. Find a broker and get a dialog going about what you can do with the money you have and how to begin investing. Don’t invest yet. Make them provide you with a written plan. I’ve had bad experiences with Prudential, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. I’m with a smaller firm called Crowell Weedon. I make sure they explain everything in writing. I get to stop by whenever I feel like it or  I can call anytime. I’m trying to become more educated and savvy about how my money works for me.

I know my risk tolerance profile and what I’m comfortable with. For the record, I’ll take on moderate risk and I look for stocks paying a dividend. I reinvest those dividends. It’s a way to grow an investment without having to do much once the initial purchase it made. I also own value companies whose stocks grow in value over time

This is greatly simplified but it’s the point I’m making that is key here: do something today. Start small. Read first, you’ll be able to formulate better questions to ask the person you’ll be entrusting your money with. Losses are inevitable. So are gains. The trick is to have more of the later than former.

It ain’t easy and it ain’t that hard. But you have to begin. Today.

Do it and enjoy a comfortable time when you’d rather not work.

Michael

 

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