It is said that the vast majority of Americans have virtually nothing saved for retirement.
Which means that when these people eventually become too old to work, the burden of their care will fall to their children or the state.
Of course, for many of these people, it’s not about planning—or failing to plan—it’s about not having the resources to contribute to a retirement account in the first place.
But for others, it does come down to the lack of any foresight on the matter.
They’re just floating along living their lives as if everything will work out fine in the end…but, as we all know…
Wishful thinking is NOT a plan.
Let’s put the “non-planners” aside for a minute and talk about the opposite approach.
When it comes to financial planning, most folks I know set up the appropriate accounts, hire professionals to advise and manage these accounts, join the correct programs through their workplace, scour the monthly statements to track the progress and carefully attend to the details of growing their retirement accounts.
Am I right?
Of course. This is the responsible thing to do…
These are the “planners”…
Two very distinct approaches.
So where am I headed with this?
Here’s where some flawed thinking comes into play.
As cleaver as most of these “planners” are…a frighteningly large percentage of them have ZERO plan in place to address their health, as they age.
Sadly, they fall under the same heading of “non-planners” for longevity, mobility, mental health and quality of life!
In the long run, they will be no better off than our blissfully unaware “non-planners” described above.
Here’s a ‘real world’ example…
Just last week I did a presentation at a major area company…a company you would recognize by name…full of engineers and generally brilliant people.
I walked them through the above contradiction and made the following statement…
“I’m guessing everyone here has a financial plan for retirement, right?”
Everyone nodded their head, yes.
“Now how many of you have a plan in place to make certain your health will be just a dialed in?”
Virtually no one moved.
I got a LOT of confused looks.
I continued, “Think about it this way. What possible good is having a large amount of money saved in 401K’s or IRA account, etc. if you’re NOT ALIVE to use it?”
“Your family will certainly benefit, but I’m quite sure they would prefer for you to be there with them.”
I could see my point was sinking in with many of them.
“Financial planning without health planning is a futile exercise!” (No pun intended)
Here’s a sample set of high-level starting points:
- When I retire, my goal is to weigh _______. (You should plan to slowly LOSE OR MAINTAIN your bodyweight as you age, not allow it to increase…because this will likely be largely fat tissue.)
- When I am no longer working, XX hours per week will be dedicated to fitness.
- I intend to start doing <INSERT NEW ACTIVITY HERE> to challenge myself and grow mentally.
- I will do <INSERT WEIGHT BEARING ACTIVITY> so I don’t lose muscle mass.
- My preferred method of cardiovascular exercise is <LIST ACTIVITY>. I will do this X times per week.
- When I have more free time, I will participate in <NAME SOCIAL ACTIVITY> in order to keep my social interactions.
- When I am no longer working, I will improve my nutrition by <LIST NEW PATTERN HERE>.
You get the idea.
If all of us paid as much attention to this health planning process as we did to keeping a close eye on our cash, many more of us would have the quality of life to truly enjoy it!
So…here’s what I ask.
Please take a few minutes and mentally answer the 6 or 7 questions listed here.
How’s your planning going?
Will you REALLY be ready for retirement when that day comes?