“What’s the significance of the squirrel on the treadmill?”, you ask. Read on.
Back in the day, when I was still working as a mortgage broker and property investment consultant, I got to meet all sorts of people. No matter who it was, they all seemed concerned about their lives and where they were headed. Those that had a lot of money were still stressed, because in most cases, their living expenses were significantly higher with larger mortgages, private school fees and cars under finance, let alone the extravagances of eating out a couple of nights a week, plus the latest clothes or suits and designer attire for kids. I have a bit of a laugh, but this describes who I was. All those things were important to me, and I’d be lying if I said none of this stuff matters to me anymore. But, the longer I have been on this journey with the SFM and really started to understand my own purpose, much of this has started slipping down my order of priorities.
Over the past 18 years, I have had the privilege of playing a part in shaping many families financial compass – at least to the extent of getting them to question where they are at and where they want to end up when they retire or retirement is forced upon them..
My typical question at an initial meeting would go something along the lines of “if you could wave a magic wand right now, how would you see your life in the next 10-20 years if time and money were no object?”. This drew many a blank look because most of them had never been asked a question like this before. As simple a question as this was, it was very challenging for most. In fact, it was a stressful question because reality begins to kick in. Reactions like “yeah I know these kind of things are important. We’ve just been trying to get through given all the extra costs with school activities, out-of-hours sport and other commitments. Inevitably, couples and singles realise they haven’t planned well for their future and can become quite stressed – particularly when it hits them that they have a lot more debt than they are truly comfortable with and that their Superannuation just isn’t going to sustain them through retirement.
An old cricket buddy of mine and well- known finance editor on Channel 9, Ross Greenwood, once said “in retirement we need 20 years of our annual salary for a comfortable retirement”. Wow! Therefore, if you earn $80,000 AUD a year, you’d need $1,600,000 AUD for a “comfortable retirement”. Let’s face it – with the advances in modern medicine, we are living longer. But, most of the population, when they retire, will not have anywhere near enough in their retirement or pension fund to live comfortably.
So, what are the alternatives? Live on the pension, sell off assets or perhaps some financial support from children. None of these are great options, particularly when you look at what it costs you to live now, whilst you still have an income.
The other thing I hear a lot of is “there’s just no time. I’m on the go constantly and I don’t have a second to myself, let alone have time to plan how I want my life to look over the next 20 years! We’re barely keeping our heads above water.” Life can be like that squirrel on a treadmill. “I’ll get off and plan for my life and our future retirement when things slow”. But, here’s the thing – life just doesn’t slow, does it? Unless you sit down with your partner, or if you are single, on your own, and make time for this, I’m afraid we will all one day arrive, but is the destination the one where we want to end up?
That treadmill, as far as I can see, never slows. Rather, it’s up to us to make our future a priority.
I made the conscious decision to change what I was in terms of my work life, so that I could get to my retirement with choices that were of my choosing, rather than options that were forced upon me as a result of poor planning or more to the point, a lack of planning.
Here’s your opportunity to jump off that treadmill so you create the life you know you deserve. If you want to stop your treadmill to start pursuing your best life then click here.
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