I try to think of myself as an easy going, levelheaded guy. I try to remember to take the trash out on Sundays, call people back as soon as possible when I get a message, hold doors open for ladies, and try to think things through before answering. I do however, find it perplexing how many times I find out how this may not be the norm. Granted, everybody's different, has different priorities, and different standards. What's important to one is of no consequence to another, and something that may fritz one person out causes no thought to the next person. However, after meeting and conversing with thousands of people from all places in life about their finances and life experiences, there are still some things that still make me go... HMMMM?
Preparation. Seems to be a self-explanatory word. Getting ready for the future, doing one's homework, getting ready for an action and the like. Why is it that the action of preparation, or getting ready for the future seems to fly out the window sometimes, to great consequence? For an example- we grow up, meet that special person, get married, have kids and hopefully and if it's right for them, they go to college. Mommy and Daddy fall in love and get married. Check. Mommy and Daddy have children. Check. Children grow up to be wonderful smart human beings and want to further their education. Check. College needs to be paid for... see first word of paragraph... preparation- no check. We've known from the first day they were born that they were destined to go to college, but don't take it seriously until they're around 16 years old, and then panic. You knew it was coming... HMMMM?
"I can't wait to retire." I'm tired, burned out, want more time for myself, and don't want to do this anymore. You've known this time was coming since you were around 21... did you start saving? Statistics show most people start seriously saving for retirement when they reach the age of 55 or so. That's 34 years or so of not saving... and then scrambling to make up for lost time. Newsflash: it ain't happenin'. You can't step into the way-back machine (I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle) and make contributions to your IRA or retirement plan once you file your taxes for that year. You did know know you wanted to retire at some point, did you not? HMMMM?
"I'll get life insurance next year." If I had it my way, everybody would fulfill their life insurance needs when they are younger than 30. The cost is minimal- based on mortality costs, the cost for a 30-year-old is multiples less than the cost for a 60-year-old, but you'd be shocked (let me see your shocked face) at how many wait until they are grey to consider life insurance. Newsflash: getting life insurance will not have any effect on when you die (unless you really tick someone off!). So why do we wait and have the privilege of paying 3-5 times the cost- at a time when we want to retire and live on a fixed income? HMMMM?
"I'll get around to doing my will." If you were involved in settling one estate without the deceased having done their estate planning, you'd be at the attorney's office tomorrow. It's a mess- trust me. HMMMM?
"It won't happen to me." Mostly men- women are so much smarter- 'nuff said. HMMMM!!!
"Do you at least contribute the minimum to your 401(k) to take advantage of the match?" You'd be amazed at how many people don't take advantage of the free money their employers want to give them. Know your plan- free money is hard to come by, from my experience. HMMMM?
I could go on, and I'm sure you could contribute to this article by the many things you HMMMM about. Be logical, be reasonable, be keenly observant. Avoid the avoidable, and play it smart- the future of you, your family and the fun in life may very well depend on it. Me? I'm going to go on the Seville website, find a tee-time that suits me and put my name on it... now- that's planning! See you on the tee!