Mastering Money Decision Making

The last week of January is upon us, and hopefully a good many of us are still riding the motivational high of our New Year’s resolutions. And with the stock market up nicely for the month, I hope that’s extra motivation that monies you’re investing for your future are growing nicely for you.

Many of us (myself included) resolve to save/invest more and spend less, pay off debt, and accumulate funds for a future purpose.

Now is a good time to make sure you are in the right mindset to continue to be motivated and successful through the rest of the year.

Why is this topic so important to me? Because most Americans approaching retirement have limited financial resources. Approximately half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings, according to the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office or GAO.

Granted the GAO is looking at retirement savings accounts such as 401k’s and IRAs, and excluding Social Security benefits which will most likely make up the bulk of low-income Americans’ retirement savings. However, this is still a very troublesome report.

And it’s not just middle-aged or older Americans feeling the retirement pinch. Millennials aren’t faring much better. Most Millennials are further behind Gen Xers and Baby Boomers were at this point in their lives.

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently published the paper, “Will Millennials be Ready for Retirement?” The report states, “at this point a simple analysis suggests that Millennials are well behind other cohorts at the same age even though they will live longer and receive less from Social Security relative to pre-retirement earnings.” 

As I pointed out in last week’s article, it’s difficult for individuals to envision what might happen in the future, thus the difficulty in taking money we earn today and save or invest it for some far-off point.

But that’s what’s required and it’s not a New Year resolution but one that we have to commit to making each and every day. If there’s a positive take-away, it’s that retirement is still a long way off for Millennials, so best to get started planning for it.

What to do? Open up and talk about your financial goals, be it with a significant other, a close friend or peer, or an advisor like myself who can assist you in mastering the emotions and thoughts behind making decisions, be it your money and/or your career so you can plan to have the best year ever.

It’s waiting that helps you as an investor, and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.” ~ Charles Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

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