Where will I be in ________ amount of years?
What will I look like in the month of ______?
How will I know I’m satisfied with where I’m at when I reach the age of _______?
Do the questions above have you pondering? I’m sure some of you may feel matter of fact about answers when you fill in the blanks with specific numbers. But will those answers remain true when the time comes?
I’ve got a better question….
What will my life be like when I retire at the age of _____?
I can’t even figure out what I’m going to eat next week.
Wait…scratch that. What I’m going to eat tomorrow morning.
Does anyone have it figured out in their 20’s what life will be like several years later?
And I get it. We make plans. We’ve got goals. Accomplishments to achieve.
I’m a planner. I can be very type-A. I like to get stuff done. I create a goal, a detailed plan of how to get there, and do my best to reach it. Sticky notes everywhere with affirmations & to-do items that decorate my cubicle & home. One of my favorite tools to use is a planner to write in vs. my phone. I feel gratification to see list items get physically crossed out with the power of a pen in my hand (ahhh yes, another item off the list). But you know what? Every now & again I tell myself just go with the flow (better yet, it’s my fiance giving me the confidence to do so). Things will happen. So maybe for a day that to-do list & the sticky notes are forgotten. Maybe even crumpled up and thrown in the trash. I take some deep breaths & slow down.
With this go-with-the-flow mentality, things may tend to go differently than planned. But that’s OK. I’m cool with that. Not everything has to be so systematic.
But right now I’ve got systems in place for retirement. I’m socking away money to my 401(k) and IRA. I have automated savings. I’ve got mapped out plans of where my money goes to make it work for me. What I’m incredibly satisfied with is that only after a few months of working on the psychological aspect of saving & spending, I don’t even think about touching the money that’s going towards retirement. It is
OFF limits, hands-off!
But what happens when you just get exhausted?
How can the motivation be maintained to ensure that the goal of how I see myself in retirement is met? Because you see…I’ve experienced life happening. I’m sure a lot of you have, too. Where the anticipated outcomes you believe will happen in 2 years…well you end up getting to 2 years later and recognize next to everything is beyond different than what you planned. Suddenly, I feel like making these money systems go by the wayside…just like those crumpled to-do lists that I choose to forget about for a bit.
Who is to say that what I plan right now will play out in retirement? I’ve got quite a bit of time before that day comes. Even if I decide to speed up my retirement goals (say set a date for my early 40’s), that’s still over 15 years of life happening and taking it’s course.
I’m feeling like retirement is an illusion that somehow has to make its way to reality.
What am I actually saving for? Even with the process of creating tangible goals to reach in retirement, I’m struggling mentally with the fact that most of it is potentially going to change. So I’m reaching out to all of you, because I know many of you have plans to retire earlier than what the traditional age would be.
How do you maintain your drive to save for retirement?
What do you do on days when you’re just ready to throw in the towel?
Do you feel the way you envision yourself in retirement will become a reality?
I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.