Have you noticed how commercials have changed over the years? Way back when, commercials used to show a product and let you know of it’s existence.
The idea was to increase sales of the product by increasing awareness. Soon, that ad type was replaced by product spokespeople. You know, a famous entertainer or athlete telling you how they love to use the product. The hope was to get you to buy the product so you could be just like Mr.or Mrs. Cool. The approach continued to evolve (or devolve if you ask me), bringing us to today’s advertising style. The product has once again become the star, but in an entirely different way. The product is now going to save your life. So much so that the focus of the ad is not the product itself, but an illustration of how many women would love to party with you (beer). How much fun you’ll have running all over the earth with your grandchildren (drugs). And how envied you’ll be by women and how sought after you’ll be by men if you just buy our (clothes, lipstick, accessories).
Now, if you pay really close attention, you’ll notice that when you are at a party and you crack open your favorite beverage, seldom does it lead to all of the pretty women in the room running over to talk with you. And ladies, I’m sorry to tell you this but, men have no idea that you even have a purse (unless it is your husband, because that is where he likes to keep his keys and wallet so he doesn’t have to carry them around in his pockets all night). The truth is that advertisers know that if they can create a lifestyle statement that you can relate to, they can get you to buy their product ,which represents the lifestyle that you want. So, do you fall for it?
Most likely you do. Well, I would like to point out the part of the commercial that is missing. The part they don’t tell you about is your retirement lifestyle.
Commercials are made in order to get you to act today. Get excited! Right now. Don’t think about it. Just do it. If you call now we’ll throw in this special, operators are standing by, rush delivery, limited availability.
Retirement investing is the exact opposite. It is methodical and mundane. It is redundant. It is totally not exciting. UNTIL YOU RETIRE! Then it is fun! When you are actually spending time with your grandchildren because you have the time to spend with your grandchildren, that’s fun. When you travel with your spouse to far away places that you have always dreamed about seeing. That’s exciting. When you look at your account and know in your heart that you will be financially secure no matter how long you live. That’s powerful. And peaceful. And that is how it should and could be.
Here are the latest statistics: People are living longer. You are going to need enough money when you retire to last you for 30 to 40 years. Not only that, but most people are not willing to change their lifestyle very much. So you’ll need enough savings to keep your current standard of living for 30 years beyond your last day at work. Wow, this is getting tricky. Oh yeah, there is one more little item to consider. Assuming a 4% annualized rate of inflation, the cost of goods and services will triple over the next 3o years.
So your morning coffee and bagel will jump from $5 today to around $15 thirty years from now. Mmmmm, appetizing!
So how do you make sure you have enough later? Simple. Start saving now. As much as you can. Every time you buy anything ask yourself if it is worth your future peace. Because that is the price you’ll be paying.
And don’t trick yourself. So many people put money in a savings account and then take some out later for “emergencies” like little Bobby’s birthday present. Hey, little Bobby deserves a present on his birthday but, if he’s not your little Bobby it sure isn’t an emergency (go back and read “Learn to Unjustify if you haven’t already).
What you need is a dedicated investment account and a dedicated investment advisor. Money goes in and never comes out (you have a separate emergency account for things that pop up). This is an account that you contribute to regularly and aggressively. You learn to feel good about contributing to it. It makes you feel powerful and proud. It enables you to retire and enjoy life.
So do it now! Unless of course you are tied up in an interesting conversation with a bevy of beautiful women that love you for your beer.