People work endlessly so they can eventually retire and spend time with their loved ones and kids, but by then, they’ve missed opportunities to take vacations or watch their kids play sports. Too often, the actual use of money isn’t aligned with why people are working so hard to make it.
Fess up. Are you one of those high-powered executives who consistently leaves vacation time on the table each year? If so, you aren't alone. About 55% of American workers left vacation time unused in 2015, according to a study by Project Time Off. That adds up to a whopping 658 million unused vacation days.
“People make sacrifices in everyday life that are in complete conflict with what they’re actually working toward,” says Joe Duran, chief executive officer of United Capital.
Duran explains: “The majority of our clients share the main goal of spending time with the people they love. They work endlessly to save money so that they can retire and see their grandkids and their kids. But by then, they have given up the opportunity to actually take vacations while they were working. By the time they retire, they’ve failed to get home to have dinner with their children, or have missed their kids’ sporting events. They have been too busy working and missed countless opportunities to enjoy time with their family. And that’s a shame."
Take time now to measure how happy you are with how your money is helping you live the life you’re leading. "Use a 1 to 10 scale. For example, let’s say one of the primary reasons you work is so you can spend time with people you love, and yet you’re working so much that you don’t get to do it," Duran says.
Quick Money Quiz
Money is not going to help you live a better life if you don’t make the choices to allow it to happen, Duran says. He outlines three questions to ask yourself:
- Why do I work?
- What is it that I want my money to give me?
- How do I make sure I’m making choices that give me as much as I want as soon as is reasonable?
Investors preparing for retirement today face a unique environment, including low yield on fixed income and unpredictable stock markets. "That means you have to have a lot more flexibility with the way you think about choices," Duran says.
Consider staying in the workforce. Years ago the typical retirement length was 1.7 years, Duran says. "You would retire and be dead 1.7 years later. You didn’t need a lot of retirement savings, and pension plans worked. People don’t have pensions today. Being 65 years old today is radically different than it was 20 years ago."
Think about a working retirement. The amount of capital you need to maintain your lifestyle is far greater than people imagine when you’re looking at 2% or 3% interest rates, Duran says. "You have to remember that working isn’t just about making money; it’s about not spending money. If you aren’t working, you’re filling your time with something that will undoubtedly cost money. People aren’t just working longer to make money; it’s to stay connected with the world and avoid spending money. Those both have massive implications in actually living a fulfilling retirement," Duran says.
Duran outlines four retirement planning ideas:
- Plan on living on capital gains and income.
- Try to generate income from stocks and bonds.
- He says to own individual bonds rather than bond funds.
- Plan on leaving less to your heirs.
Here are two more tips for pre-retirement planning:
1. Connect your financial and retirement goals to your personal goals. SMART is a useful acronym that describes key criteria for actionable goals: goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Learn about how to create SMART goals here.
2. Consider income-oriented products like annuities. The primary goal of an annuity is to create a guaranteed stream of income that cannot be outlived. Learn more about annuities for guaranteed income here.
Let’s Figure Out Retirement Planning
Whether you need a little guidance or a lot, we can help. Speak with a TD Ameritrade retirement consultant at 800-213-4583.