It seems as though each time I read the Money or Financial section of any online newspaper, there is an article about how unprepared Americans are for retirement.
We are more than aware of this, right? Do we need to be told repeatedly what we already know?
Maybe so. You can know something and still do nothing about it. We know we would be healthier if we ate better, exercised more and didn’t drink or smoke. Yet still we hit the drive thru and do what we want in the moment in spite of our intellectual knowledge of what is good for us and what might shorten our lives.
Building wealth — on a daily basis — isn’t exciting. There’s nothing sexy about cutting back on spending, tracking income and investments, and setting/maintaining goals. In fact, on a day-to-day basis, is is downright boring. It isn’t like exercise, where even if you aren’t enjoying it there are the endorphins to enjoy or look forward to. There’s no buzz from saving a $1, building that up and buying an investment.
Or is there?
At first, getting on this plan of saving to invest is uncomfortable. We are going without a few luxuries we were used to treating ourselves to. We were hitting the coffee shop every morning on the way to work. The $4 latte, we felt, was our reward for holding down a full-time job. It got us through the day and the coffee employees were so nice to us! It was hard to let go of that 15 minutes of feeling special and pampered.
Then we gave up the daily fast food, both for lunch and dinner. It was so easy to drive through and pick up a quick meal on the way to whatever was going on that evening. We instead shopped the grocery sales, bought meats on sale and stocked the freezer with quick meals for busy nights. We saved a ton of cash, but we gave up saving all that time while we were out and about.
It took a long while of cutting back, putting the money saved into a long-term savings account, and waiting for a time we could buy our first asset. At NDQ HQ, that first asset was a multi-family building. Talk about scary. We were buying a business, we were going to move into the building, and we were committing to a long-term relationship of working a day job along with the side gig.
Along the way, as the savings account grew, this plan did become exciting and energizing. The more saved, the more we wanted to save. As our account grew, we wanted to grow it even more. Now that we have settled into managing our multi-family building, we are focussed on buying the next one and the next.
With that in mind, it’s time to get serious about the reality: if you want to retire before you are 70 and not have to rely on what’s left of Social Security, figure out a plan that works for you. It may not be rental property, it might be index funds. Whatever you decide is the investment vehicle for you, get started on creating a road map to get yourself there. While you are dreaming about what you want your life to look like at that retirement point, start saving to invest! Seriously.
p.s. Check out the new NDQ Guide: 500 Tips the guide that will give you actionable steps to jump start your savings and investing immediately.
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