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And The Future Goes To…

It's awards season in Hollywood: The Oscars, Academy Awards, BET Awards, The Emmy's and a plethora of shows allowing the beautiful people in the public eye to pat themselves on the back, get dressed up and feed their always hungry egos. It boggles my mind how after getting paid tens of millions of dollars for a few months' work, it's not enough: they have to vie for an award that the public liked them more than their peers... reminds me of a "Mom always liked you best" thing from The Smothers Brothers. Where's the award for Best Teacher, or Best Firefighter or Policeman, Best Small Business Owner or Best Office Manager- or for that matter, Best Certified Financial Planner® professional? Tell me guys- when's the last time you had an occasion to even get dressed up in a tux... that wasn't rented! The movie is done and in the can. The TV show is done and given its ½ hour glory. THAT'S all about the PAST... what about the FUTURE?

I've talked about the two crystal balls on my conference table that never seem to work. I've got a client who reads tarot cards. My Ouija Board seems to be stuck under my fingers, never-moving. If we could find a way (like Back to the Future) to foresee the future, vast fortunes, calamities and health crisis could be attained or avoided: but we know enough to know that's not going to happen. So, what can we do to help mold the future, or change it? Is it beyond our control completely or do we have control over it? Will Marty prevail over Biff? (Back to the Future 2). Predicting or controlling the future is beyond our control for the most part, but we do have some control over it- the decisions we make in the present, the chances we take, and the decisions we come to all help mold the picture of our future. Making contributions to your retirement account is a good example: the more we put away and save, the more control we will have over our retirement years with respect to our finances. I grant you- health is out of our control…but taking care of our bodies, eating well and exercising are all a part of controlling the future of our body's health. So, there are some things that are somewhat controllable for us to help arrive at a better future... and then there are some that confuse the heck out of me!

In May 2013, a Time magazine cover story identified Millennials as those born from 1980 or 1981 to 2000. In 2014, the Pew Research Center, an American think tank organization, defined "adult Millennials" as those who were 18 to 33 years old, born 1981–1996. I recently read a statistic that I found staggering: a study of 2000 millennials was done and it was found that 32% of millennials are not saving for retirement at all. That 32% was counting on either winning the lottery or living on the inheritance from their parents or other person, and firmly felt that saving was not at all necessary. "Live for today" was pretty much their motto, and they rated vacations and "things" as much more important than saving- after all, why not accumulate stuff and have fun while you're young enough to enjoy it? I'll pause here and get a cup of coffee before continuing to allow you time to finish laughing...

Conversely, I've worked and met with hundreds of above millennial age folks that too have not grasped onto the gravy train of life, or ever thought of reaching for the brass ring. Some from fear, some from necessity, and some from not knowing how. Just like you go to a dentist to fix a tooth, visit a Certified Financial Planner professional® to help you sort out your future. It's never too late, no matter your age- you can't be an expert in everything, and as I probably know very little about what you do or did for a living, if you aren't skilled in finance, see a professional.

So dear friends, I implore you to think about the future, and what things you can and cannot control. Speaking as a Pop, I don't think I'm too old yet to have fun and enjoy life- actually, I include fun as a prerequisite for each and every day. I like "things" and vacations, but I also realize sooner or later I will be signing off of this column and stopping what I do to make a living (helping folks like you with your financial well-being) when and if I decide or life decides for me. Until that time, I will still have a mix of fun and responsible control over my future, whatever it ends up to be. Life is about balance, yin and yang, and we do have control over much of it. Control comes with responsibility and sensible decisions, of which some may agree or disagree. All I know is it comes down to two ways: either I make the decisions for me, or someone or something else does... I know my choice- do you?

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