I feel blessed to be a part of the Seville community. I've made a host of friends, and I can say I have not met a person here that was not kind and thoughtful. We have a community of homes that range in size and shape (and every shade of beige!), great accommodations for the kids of the community, and of course the best and most beautiful golf course one could ask for with a clubhouse and activities to accommodate everyone's needs. Call me simple and easy to please, but I think Elizabeth and I hit the jackpot- not to mention being 10 minutes from my kids. As I drive through our varied communities, I love to look at the houses and landscaping, and the different dreams of the homeowner that manifested into his and her dream house. Each house has a front door, and from the outside, they pretty much look the same, save for their color. That however, is where the similarities end... it's what's behind door number one that differs so.
We have a community of young and older (not old) folks from all walks of life, different educations and origins, and everything in between. The one commonality is the differences and similarities we all face: making a living or living on retirement income, raising kids, dealing with health issues, home upkeep, family matters, and, well, you fill in the blanks. As I have met and worked with thousands of folks with their own front doors, the "commonality" is the "un-commonality" of everyone. Most people are doing the best they can, winging it through life, just trying to find their own special way. When I'm sick, I go to the doctor... not self-diagnose from the internet. I don't do my own taxes although I've been trained, so I go to the best I can find... same with a dentist, lawyer, etc. When it comes to money though, I find it somewhat quizzical how many folks go it alone without consulting a professional. They enroll in their 401(k) when they start their job by picking a bunch of arbitrary funds, and basically ignore it year after year. They try to save, with no definitive plan or goal. It's not unlike setting off on a road trip- without a destination- how will you know where you are going or when you get there?
If you don't save enough, you can't go back 20 years and put more away- it's one heck of a surprise when you plan to send your little one to college and then discover that your very short of funds, or say you want to retire at a certain age but find out that year you don't have enough. How do you do your planning and monitoring- or is just hoping for the best the main plan? Can you quantify how much you save, how it compares to where you need to be to accomplish your long or short term goal, and how to adjust annually to make the goal? Remember- once you go to sleep and wake up the next morning, you can't get yesterday back... it's gone, and so is your chance to keep up on your goals for that day.
So, do yourself a favor. Set your goals. Define how much you need to put away a month to get there. Run your hypotheticals and variances for interest rates, economic up and downturns, inflation, varying cash flows, taxes, liquidity needs, time horizons, diversification, world economics- and don't forget those things you can't possibly predict. If it sounds a bit complicated, it is... that's why you need a well tenured, experienced Certified Financial Planner® at your side to help you through... because you don't tie a string to your tooth and the doorknob for a root canal. Got me? Good... gotta' go... see you on the tee!