What Are You Saving For?

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Unless you are in the throes of middle age, you probably aren’t thinking much about retirement lately. It always seems so far away and something to put off for a while. Sometimes young people get drawn into a company plan, especially if the company matches the contributions. This is a smart way to start. More often than not, it is the furthest thing from your mind however unless you have a savvy investment advisor as a friend. This is why I always ask clients what they are saving for in the hopes of bringing up the topic of retirement. We can then progress toward a discussion of the investments that will lead them to their goal. You have to focus their attention. I get all kinds of answers. Some people want a vacation home by a lake or the ocean. Some want a mountain cabin, a boat, or a home entertainment center. If they don’t want to get rooted somewhere all of the time, they just want a lavish budget for lots of trips around the world. One person said to me, I will just throw darts at a map and get up and go! It is all about freedom and new experiences.

Some people want to buy a house for their children to help them get a head start in life. Others are open to funding a startup business for the same purpose. Why have the kids wait for their inheritance and they are too old to be entrepreneurs at the starting gate? This is what I call advance planning. These are indeed very responsible parents. Then there are the rest who want to take care of themselves in their senior years without running out of money. They need to have a good investment portfolio in place for this purpose, one that is well-conceived and carefully planned with appropriate diversification. There is a definite art to retirement planning.

After listening to everyone’s wish list and being amazed at the variety of what people think is the good life, I also had to ask myself the very same thing. What would I want to save for? Just like everyone else, I want to be able to get away from it all and enjoy some kind of resort atmosphere where I can treat myself to personal pleasures. In retirement, I see myself in a nice, relaxing hot tub for four. Why four? I want to be surrounded by friends—it’s that simple. No one wants to be alone during moments of recreation. In retirement, you have the time to entertain guests. There is not even a hint of an old folks home. Can’t you just see me with a glass of wine in hand, pouring another for three additional friends? It doesn’t have to be my own hot tub, but I certainly wouldn’t mind. It could be one in an apartment complex in Miami, where the sun seeking folks want to retire.