By Ron Dorner
If you are a gardener, you are probably picking the fruits of your labor. If you don’t garden, you may never have given much thought to being a successful gardener. Gardening and planning for retirement have much in common.
Perhaps you are afraid of the work it takes to have a productive garden. Successful gardeners prepare the soil, faithfully pull weeds, and the result is an abundance of food.
Retirement planning has many parallels. Accumulating funds for retirement requires looking ahead and creating a step-by-step plan to move you closer to your goal. In learning to garden, it is helpful to find an experienced gardener for advice. It is the same in setting goals for retirement. Find a good financial planner.
A recent survey of 2,500 people between ages 45 to 64 found that 59 percent had not done formal retirement preparation. Are you in that category?
Lack of Vision
Every gardener has vision. He or she puts specific plants in the ground and visualizes picking ripe juicy tomatoes, delicious berries, and six-inch long string beans. Now imagine your retirement. How will you spend your time? Where will you live? What kind of car will you drive? Can you see the details?
The first barrier to successful retirement is a lack of a clear vision. Creating a comprehensive picture will help you determine what assets you need and will motivate you to plan effectively.
Dreaming of a nice garden and actually preparing the soil are two very different things. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for any endeavor can be setting a goal and making it a priority. This holds true in preparing for retirement, too.
No matter what your age, there will always be demands on your money. As a believer, you have learned that giving to the Lord is as much a priority as it is a blessing. Likewise, you must realize retirement saving must take priority over many other things, which when looked at objectively, are really much less important.
Lack of Discipline
Setting a goal isn’t enough. In gardening, you have to prepare the ground, test the soil, add nutrients, plant and even water occasionally. Looking ahead to retirement requires similar action.
Lack of discipline in spending, as well as in saving, during your life journey may leave you with a retirement not nearly as beautiful as you imagined. Establish a budget and learn to stick to it.
Automatic saving by payroll deduction works well. The earlier you start, the better you will be. Begin with small amounts if you must; but start. A little now will have a huge impact on your later life.
Success will depend upon good planning and having someone hold you accountable for the decisions you make. Why not seek out a financial planner today?
Ron Dorner is director of Biblical Money Management. BMM has been helping believers handle their finances and estate planning since 1984. Online counseling is available at www.BiblicalMoneyManagement.com.