All investors have one common trait: their reason to save today is to support spending in the future. Of course, saving and spending represent opposite ends of the financial spectrum. One is easy, while the other is hard.
Unclear Vision of the Future
The problem with saving for the future is we don’t know what the future will look like. Sure, we have some ideas about how we want the future to look, but generally these are “fuzzy” images. Because we are unclear about the future, the motivation to postpone enjoyment today and save gets lost.
Because the future is unclear by definition, people fail to save for whatever form your future may take. Unfortunately, this lack of savings essentially determines your future. The default setting is financial failure unless you find a way to save. Financial resources provide numerous options; lack of financial resources take away those options. Life happens and having flexibility is of tantamount importance, particularly when entering uncharted territory.
Most people feel insecure about their financial futures if they are totally honest. We help clients deal with these insecurities by developing a realistic path forward, toward their primary goal.
Clearing a Path Forward
There are usually multiple paths one can take in order to reach a destination. I recall hiking in the mountains with some friends not long ago. There were a few different paths to the waterfalls below. The fastest had some rocky terrain, while the longest was flatter, but would take additional time. None of us had been there before but everyone had some idea of what the ultimate destination might look like. That’s just like the future. None of us have been there, but we still have some idea of what it might be and how it will look.
The most difficult decision for many successful individuals is the very first step along whatever path you have chosen. Just standing at the starting point won’t get you to your destination. Breaking the stranglehold of inertia is necessary in order to make progress. Make no mistake: wasting another day or month or year by not saving just further limits your options in the future.
Related: Will You Run Out of Money?
What’s Getting in the Way?
Frequently, clients look for a single reason, something getting in the way of their being able to save. Actually, it’s usually not just one reason but four reasons, all wrapped together:
1. Individuals have ideas in their head, but don’t know the first steps to take.
2. They have incomplete or vague goals.
3. Spouses don”t share the same goals.
4. Last but not least, they allow the urgent to overwhelm the essential.
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