Has planning for retirement become too much of a march to a vague and undefined destination? Are you sacrificing the only life you have trying to reach it?
To live a more balanced life, it helps to view life as a journey, one that allows you to work less and spend more time with your family. And you don’t have to sacrifice your secure financial future to do it.
Here are five steps you can take to plan well and live a more balanced financial life.
Be happy with less. It’s the natural order of our economy to accumulate more. But things don’t make you happy. As your income increases, so does the price of your lifestyle. You slowly build your own financial cage that ultimately limits your options and forces you to work to support your lifestyle. If you live more simply, you’ll need less income. How would you change your life if you didn’t need to earn as much?
Plan to work longer. People live longer, yet most still retire in their sixties. Do you really want to do nothing for thirty years of your life? If you’re healthy you’ll be active and productive well into your seventies. You may soon tire of golf and travel. Why not work into your early seventies and extend your earnings potential to support a more balanced life? How might you organize your life to work longer in a more balanced way?
Limit your use of debt. Debt makes you a servant to the lender. If you carry debt, you will always have payments, which means you’ll have to earn more to maintain your lifestyle. Without debt, you’ll have more control over the amount of income or savings you’ll need. This is smart for anyone who wants to enjoy a more balanced life.
Be a lifelong learner. Never stop learning. It makes you happier, healthier, and more interesting—to others and yourself. The barriers to advancing your skills or learning new ones are gone. On sites like YouTube or Vimeo you can find tutorials on most any subject. It’s easier than ever to stay current in your profession or to learn new skills in another.
Stay connected. Stay connected personally and professionally. I have one client who mentally plans on changing jobs every five years. Since he also plans to work well into his seventies, he has made it a priority to stay connected to his ever-growing professional network. Today, it’s easier than ever to stay in the loop via Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks.
You get to define your life and how you live it. Although financial planning is important, don’t let the industry of retirement planning define how you live your life.
Question: What are you doing to plan for retirement but still live a balanced life? You can send me a Tweet to @roger_whitney.