The following story is meant to inspire us to think about our lives and if we live them how we want. If we are aware of our current financial situation and plan for retirement. Whether you can relate to this story or not, the purpose is to help you take control of your finances, especially retirement, and prepare to live the retirement you dream of. Now for the story.
Picture This Story
A man has been feeling a bit down lately. He was in his mid-forties and wondered what the point of it all was. Sure, he had a good job and could provide for his family, but was that all there was? He wasn’t sure if he was genuinely living or just going through the motions.
One day, he decided to take a walk in the park. It was a beautiful day, and the sun was shining. As he walked, he noticed a young woman sitting on a bench, crying. He wondered what could be wrong.
He sat down next to her and asked if she was OK. She told him she’d been having a bad year, and nothing was going her way, nor did she know what to do next with her life.
He didn’t know what to say, so he sat with her. They talked for a while, and he discovered that she was only twenty-four years old.
He briefly told her that she was young and still had lots of time. He mentioned that he had many of the same worries and wondered what he was doing with his life, and he was much older.
It was going to be OK. We don’t have to have everything figured out right away.
Going Through Change
Suddenly, his situation made him realize that often we get down on ourselves and want our lives to be better than they currently are.
It made him realize that his current slump and thoughts were OK. It’s OK to have periods of life that feel dull, but it’s also OK to have others where you push to change things up.
He thanked her for opening his eyes to being OK with his current situation and inspiring him to do more in his own life. We then went our separate ways.
This interaction with this woman gave him more in-depth introspection to his previous questions, especially, am I truly doing what I want in my life? This life is your one chance, and you must ensure you make the most of it. After that day, he decided to make some changes in his life.
He started doing things that made him happy and began to live life to the fullest and cherish every moment. He made sure to do some self-care and family care and to take care of his mental and physical state.
He started some hobbies and enjoyed his time more. After all, he was no longer just going through the motions; he was living.
Part of this change in his life got him thinking about the state of his finances. Was he on track for retirement? Did he have enough saved up? He took a closer look at his finances and ensured he was doing everything he could to prepare for the future.
What are some of the things he looked at regarding his finances? He tried to look at the most impactful things; these were a few of the most important:
- He used a reputable retirement calculator to determine what he should have saved by retirement age and if he was on track. This knowledge pushed him to start contributing more to his 401k/IRA.
- To save more, he thought it wise to track where he spent his money and create a budget to ensure he was spending wisely and not overspending.
- To save effectively for retirement, you should also keep yourself safe. This is why he ensured his emergency fund was enough to cover four months of all monthly expenses, including required bills and any entertainment spending. It covers everything.
- It would help if you also considered your debt and whether you can pay it off by retirement. He decided he wanted most of his debt paid before he entered retirement. With that in mind, he increased his home and car payments higher than the minimum to ensure they were paid off before he entered retirement. This is great because it also decreases the interest you pay, making more money available for retirement savings. He will pay off his loans before the required date, which is nice.
- He also looked at what he was investing in with his retirement accounts—a relatively broad range of mutual funds invested in many stocks and bonds. He felt good about this, but it felt stale, reliant on the stock market, and uninspiring.
While doing this last step, it hit him: He might need to take a different approach if he wants his retirement to be precisely how he likes it. Maybe there were other ways to save for retirement. Maybe there were investments that weren’t your average stocks and bonds, which helped diversify him outside the stock market.
That’s when he discovered a self-directed Individual Retirement Account. You can invest in real estate, private businesses, and more with this account.
Suddenly, the possibilities seemed endless! This was precisely what he needed to get excited about retirement again. This opens up a whole new world of investment opportunities for him.
This story relates to me for a few reasons.
First, I am also middle-aged, and retirement planning seems like a priority to ensure I’m doing everything possible to set myself up for a comfortable retirement.
Second, this story shows that it’s never too late to change your life. It doesn’t matter how old you are; you can always make a change for the better. If this man can do it, so can I. Lastly, a self-directed IRA is a great way to diversify your retirement account.
The standard investments that most retirement investing institutions allow are stale. It isn’t that they are lousy investment choices, but should you only be invested in paper assets?
With a self-directed IRA, you can invest in tangible assets like real estate, precious metals, private businesses, and more. All while getting the tax benefits that retirement accounts provide. You control your retirement account and can make changes as you see fit.
Please contact us at Accuplan if you are interested in learning more about self-directed IRAs and how they could benefit you.