Every once in a while I think about my retirement plan. My 401k statement comes in the mail, I look at it, and something inside me (maybe fear) says I should invest more in the fund. Then, this other voice comes along (maybe hope) that says I should invest more in myself.
I get it. I should be disciplined and set aside a certain amount of money for my future. But what should I sacrifice along the way?
There must be others facing this inner struggle. Do you play it safe and patiently await your turn to live life on your terms? Or, do you invest in opportunities that are available to you today?
The first option is almost guaranteed. Invest $X dollars for Y years in a tax sheltered retirement plan and you will have $Z when you’re 60.
The second option is not guaranteed. Invest in your “idea” and it might not work out.
There’s nothing wrong with either option. Either way you’ll reach financial freedom at some point in your life.
But before you commit the rest of your life to a retirement goal, why not ask yourself why?
Why do you want to retire in the first place?
Maybe you want to spend more time at the beach or with your grandkids. Maybe you’re tired of working for “the man” and you want to call the shots.
Most likely, you just want more freedom – to live life as you please.
I have a hard time accepting the idea that a person must wait until the end of life to live on their terms. But that’s the deal society sells us. Trade us forty years of your life for a retirement income so you can enjoy the last ten. That’s why I struggle with my retirement account. I believe I will get a better return if I invest the money – right now – in myself.
I adopted a rule a while back to pay myself first – with both my money and time. I deposit a percentage of every paycheck into my savings account before I pay my bills and before I pay Vanguard. I also spend the first hour of every day on myself to work on projects that are important to me. Someday, those hours and dollars will add up to something much more valuable than my 401k. That’s my bet.
How about you?
How’s your retirement plan coming along?
I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Follow me on Twitter
Join MoE on Facebook
Update: In January, I’ll be launching the Life Planning Kit: Build, Believe, Become to help you tackle big questions like these. Stay tuned.