“Sometimes we take the road less traveled by, and that makes all the difference.” – Robert Frost
If you doubled your money would you be twice as happy? Have you ever had half the money you have now? Were you half as happy as you are now? Often times, we focus so much on the numbers, we forget what the real propose of what retirement planning is all about. Better said, our intention is to maximize Return on Life. Let me share with you a story…
I am training for a full Ironman. Last Saturday, I did my long bike ride, as scheduled. When I got off my bike, my back was aching. I thought it was temporary, but it has been over a week and still it hurts to sit. I had a long conversation with my coach. I told him if I stretched, or took some aspirin, I think I can push though. Maybe if I peddled differently, it would have less strain on my back. Or maybe a new seat. Or or or…..
He said, is the Ironman the goal or your health? You don’t do an Ironman having to think of so many things. You prepare so when you are there, you don’t have to think. You prepare so you can focus your full attention on what matters most, enjoying the race and being healthy. He was telling me the same things I share with clients. What I was doing was the financial equivalent of, what is the next best investment, is this mutual fund better than that one, my neighbor bought this stock, CNBC said to do this, etc. If I have more money, then I will reach my goal, then I will be happy. In short, I was thinking near term versus long term.
He continued, focus on the fundamentals of health and that MAY lead to you completing the Ironman on September 18th. Do I sacrifice my health for a near time goal or focus on the long-term? Do I buy the hot stock because my friends do or do I stick with my long term plan and stay the course? Sometimes distinguishing between what is near term thinking and long term thinking can be difficult. This is why I hired a coach.
My coach and I decided to do a lot more swimming and less biking and running. We adjusted what we plan to do. The same as adjusting your savings rate if you lose your job or have a medical emergency. Maybe you adjust your investments to prepare for retirement, inflation, deflation, or higher taxes.
Maybe things will work out and I can complete the Ironman on September 18th. I will do this if doing so lines up with long term health. If not, I may adjust my timing. That could be Ironman later in the year or next year. Sometimes you may need to consider pushing off retirement for a year or two. Sometimes you may be able to retire sooner, rather than later. Sometimes you just need to adjust the timing.
When times are tougher, sometimes clients adjust their spending. Maybe they will take vacations for one week instead of two. Maybe they will stay around home versus traveling overseas. Do you enjoy your time half as much if the hotel is half price? Do you enjoy it twice as much if the hotel is double the price? Since my injury, I’ve been adjusting my training by swimming a lot more. Swimming is my least favorite of the swim, bike, run of the triathlon. I had forgotten what I used to do when I got tired swimming. I float on my back with my ears under water and look up at the Carolina Blue sky. All I can hear is my breath. It is so beautiful. It is so peaceful. Swimming this much was not my intention. Sometimes we adjust our goals — how we spend our vacations, how we spend time with our families, and that is ok.
On the lighter side, we are at Lake Murray outside Columbia, SC on vacation with my family. Lots of open water to swim. Elliott and his cousins are enjoying the water too. Pictured is my nephew, Rivers, waiting for me to finish my swim.
Hope all is well with you and your family,
Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor; DBA Riverbend Wealth Management.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.