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Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself When Planning for Retirement

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself When Planning for Retirement

June 16, 2021
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Don't Get Ahead of Yourself

I am very passionate about setting goals. That's one reason I'm in this industry; I feel like I can have a more significant influence for helping people pursue, look for, and guide them towards achieving their goals. I do this by helping retirement plans with their education and helping manage the investments. But, I think sometimes we miss the mark. I hear a lot of people say, "Should I do a Roth or a traditional? Should I be doing this investment or that investment? How much should I be putting away?" These are all great questions to have. These are all things that need answers. But, people can get ahead of themselves. Sometimes, you got to start a step behind.

Let's say that you're going hiking. If you're hiking up a trail and you don't know the destination, then first of all, what's the point? Yes, there's the scenery along the way, but how do you know you've arrived? If you, on the other hand, have the goal in mind, have a map, and you know where you're going to go, even if you get off the trail or you need to forge a new path or find another way to get to it, you at least know the destination.  

The first question isn't Roth versus Traditional or how much to put away or where to invest. The first question is, what values do you have? What's important to you? What are the beliefs or causes that you want to support? Retirement is just a portion and a phase of our lives, but it's not like a magic light bulb goes off, and things change when you retire.  

It's essential to see what's important to you throughout your life and find ways to fund it. That's what planning is all about. So, the first thing you've got to do is define your destination. Next, you've got to know where you're going, and then you can create a plan. If you need to adjust the plan as you get closer to your destinations, that's just fine.

Set SMART Goals

As you set goals and plan for the future, consider using the smart goal approach.

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Relevant
  • T: Time-bound

Some of the areas you may want to consider as you are setting plans for your future may include:


What are your hobbies, passions, and ways you like to spend your time? Once again, planning is not just about retirement; it is also about making time for things in your life that are important to you. So if there are places you want to go and things you want to do before you retire or during retirement, make sure those things are part of your plan.


Relationships can fall in the category of friends, family, and even institutions that are important to you. What do you want to leave for your family? Do you want to leave money to family and institutions that are important to you? What experiences do you want to have with those you care about throughout your lifetime?


What causes do you want to support? What do you want to give back to society? Are you investing based on your values along with your risk tolerance and time horizon?


It's your life, and the way you choose to spend your life is yours to make. But I hope this article makes you think about retirement planning outside of the box. Focus on the outcome, not just on the path.