I found this picture and knew it just fit this time of the year. Fall is my favorite season of the year, because it involves some of my favorite things to do. With Football season and the build up to the holidays, what is there not to love? I love at how the weather changes from summer to fall. Living in Texas, the summers can be pretty hot, but the fall weather in Texas is beautiful. I have enjoyed many fall days outside in the cooler temperatures this year. Along with the cooler temperatures, comes a change in the color of the trees. The leaves fall and the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges fill the horizons. This is probably one of the things that I miss the most about living in Nebraska. We don't get the full seasons in south Texas, and my only opportunities to see the weather change is to visit the Northern States.
Mother nature can give us a great reminder that there can be beauty in change. Change happens all the time in our life. From buying a new house, to starting a new job, to having a baby, change can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. Not all changes in our life have to be major. They can also be simple, like starting to use a budget or setting a goal to read the bible daily. That's why I think this reminder from the government is well needed during this fall season. The government has declared October 16th-22nd as National save for retirement week. You should not take this reminder as just a suggestion. Retirement, no matter how far away it is (20, 30 or 40 years) is something that is coming. You can't avoid it and at some point you will need to be able to live without working. This comes from having money saved for retirement. And if that wasn't clear enough, maybe this will do:
YOU NEED TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT!
This may require you to make some changes. You may need to cut back on eating out. You may need to skip those Starbucks runs. You may need to cut the cable cord. I don't know what it is that you need to do, but start saving for retirement today. Not tomorrow, not next year, and definitely not as a New Year's resolution. We all know how well New Year's resolutions work out. You can't just luck into having money in retirement. It takes diligence. It takes patience. It takes a little bit of boring. That's right, I said boring. You don't have to have the most elaborate retirement plan to have money in retirement. You just need to save money.
Some of you may be wondering, isn't the retirement vehicle important? Yes, it's important to invest. Yes, it's important put your money in Roth IRAs and 401ks, but where you invest your money is not the most important factor in building wealth. The most important factor is saving. The compounding of your money won't matter, if you haven't saved anything. Take a look at the numbers:
- Save $100 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $150,029.52
- Save $250 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $375,073.79
- Save $500 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $750,147.59
- Save $750 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $1,125,221.38
- Save $1000 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $1,500,295.18
- Save $1500 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $2,235,539.17
- Save $2000 a month for 30 years at 8% returns compounded: $3,000,590.36
Some you you may not agree with the assumptions of 8% and that's fine. To accommodate you, I will take out the average inflation rate of 4% and look at the numbers:
- Save $100 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $69,636.29
- Save $250 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $174,090.73
- Save $500 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $348,181.45
- Save $750 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $522,272.18
- Save $1000 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $696,362.90
- Save $1500 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $1,044,544.35
- Save $2000 a month for 30 years at 4% returns compounded: $1,392,725.80
Using the inflation adjusted numbers, you could still have $1,000,000 in 30 years if you invest at least $1,500 a month. Now, you can find a lot of mutual funds and stocks that average better than 8%. All of the mutual funds that make up our portfolio have averaged 9.5% or higher historically. They are more volatile, but I am willing to take the hit for the higher gains over the long run.
No matter what frame of life that you are in, retirement and retirement savings is attainable. You just have to become methodical. You just have put money in savings every month. In the last three years, my wife and I have taken a more noticeable focus on our finances (including savings). Most of the growth in our net worth during those 3 years has come from our savings rate. Sure, some has come from the growth in the market, but we save a lot of money every month and this savings has allowed us to grow our net worth substantially in three years.
Since the rate of savings is the most important factor in building wealth, I continue to show you our savings rate every quarter. I do this to try to promote motivation and hopefully encourage all of you to push yourselves to save as much of your income as possible. I know that life can throw things at us and savings can be sacrificed sometimes. If you continue to sacrifice saving money, you will be sacrificing your wealth in retirement. Without any savings, you rely on social security or government pensions for your income. This will put you on a fixed income and will require you to live a life that may not be fullfilling.
I don't want to rely on the government for my monthly income in retirement, and I was reminded this two years ago at a Dave Ramsey's Smart Money presentation in Houston. At this presentation, Chris Hogan, author of Retire Inspired, was speaking about retirement. During this speech, he talked about a time that he was talking to a client. His client had an aunt who was retired. The client told him that he wanted financial coaching about retirement, because while he was visiting his aunt he found that the only food in the house was cat food. The client's aunt did not have a cat, and she was eating cat food, because she couldn't afford anything else. His aunt had to sacrifice in retirement, because she didn't sacrifice prior to retirement. To avoid this position of struggling in retirement, you need to save today. You need to save monthly.
In this fall season of change, make a change for the betterment of your future. You can't just say that you will start later. Light a fire and start pushing yourself to save for the future. Start pushing yourself to make the changes that are necessary. I don't care what it is, but start saving today!