There is an inherent duality with money. The duality exists through our individual and collective consciousness about it as an energy of exchange. When it is abundant it is the great enabler of our time. When it is lacking it can destroy our self-esteem, creative force, and our human spirit. The thing about money is that it is passive and inert, it is just a thing. It comes to life when we as humans act in transactions and add a symbolic value to this unit of exchange. Only when we do this, we give money power.
After 30 years of giving financial advice and being in the field, I have come to the conclusion that we as individuals are our own threat regarding being financially stable after retirement. Logic and education combined with math make the sums for our outcomes easy to articulate. There are incredible tools to calculate what we need financially at retirement and how much we should contribute. This is easy…and logical. This is strategic and mechanical. The what of retirement is easy to imagine, calculate and visualize. The biggest challenge is the how.
How do I implement this strategy; driven and “dictated” by the calculations and assumptions. How do I commit to a strategy that has an outcome that is five, ten twenty and more years away? How do I make decisions ? And can I ,with certainty, know the outcome of those decisions?
Am I stuck in my past baggage, anxieties, traumas and limiting belief systems? Are my circumstances today so full of drama that tomorrow is just too much to contemplate? Am I apathetic and too afraid to think about what tomorrow brings? Am I so stuck in a victim mentality that my retirement is someone else’s issue and they have to take care of me. Do I lack the discipline and character traits to sacrifice some of my monthly earnings to invest in my future?
Is it true that my thinking and self-talk is manifesting today and creating “karma” in my future? The journey towards aging (retirement) is about as certain as the content of Donald Trump’s next tweet. It is true that we can do everything in our power and save and live like a monk, with sacrifice and little consumption but then a disaster comes and wipe all this out in a second. This is the risk of life. Life is change. So let’s look at how we practically save for retirement.
Because I am potentially my biggest sabotage in my savings journey, as an example, through cashing my pension savings when I leave an employer and negate the magic of time and money, the lesson is to:
● Work on myself and improve/change my belief systems. Identify what I believe and challenge every belief. Don’t be a sheep. Don’t follow the pack.
● Develop a personal decision making process that is enhancing my wisdom, my efficiency in my world or environment.
● Sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed to save, another word for sacrifice is discipline. Develop a “practice” or a process to enhance daily living
● Develop a strategy and stick to it, review it, but build in some flexibility
● Have the mind-set to invest in yourself first.
● Money is a teacher, learn the lessons (mostly psychological), identify habits and areas where there is self-sabotage. Habits are difficult to break or change so this may be the biggest challenge.
● An outsider (Financial Planner) can see our blind spots and assist with corrective actions.
● Trust yourself, and build trust in yourself through right actions facing all life challenges, especially financial.
I follow Greta Thunberg on social media. She is the leading world advocate of saving the planet. We as humanity, collectively have been consuming natural resources without regard to sustainability. Our future mantra is to save. I believe before we save the planet we have to save ourselves. It is the same with all aspects of life, everything is linked and connected.
If I get to a place of self, where my burden to myself, my loved ones, my community and my planet then saving is easy, it is flow, it is life. If we are not saving for retirement or saving with some purpose we will continue to be victims of circumstance. Purpose creates a why, why should I save for retirement? Why should I save the planet? Purpose is drive, it is action, it is a mission, it is reason to be. Greta is so spot on that we are a worldly community and we either sink together or we save the planet together.
Community is an essential element to add into our retirement planning. I learned from an organization, Saveact that savings clubs are taking communities that only had access to money from SASSA into thriving economic communities by saving through savings clubs. The community with purpose has transformed itself. The savings clubs are relational and not transactional. This is what Greta is teaching and showing us. Health and fitness is the next essential for retirement planning. It is the same for the planet, if earth is healthy and treated with respect and a saving mentality she will reward us collectively with a chance of sustained health. Get healthy today, make this purpose and this way of living will bring sustained rewards in retirement.
Look at what we eat, and how our diet is a function of habit. Another way to say this, is to ask: how do we consume from our environment? Do we respect our bodies, Greta is asking do we respect the earth?
We as humans have power, we can discern, we can judge, we can plan, we are an impactful species, yet we appear to be detached, out of touch with ourself, our planet, our power is in our beliefs, in our habits, in our collective consciousness and if we want different outcomes, we have to change our behavior. Personal change is the great challenge and our beliefs and habits are exposed through our use and attitudes towards the symbol called money.