The Tortoise and the Hare
I am a saver at heart and like to have all my buckets “funded”; I make a special effort throughout the year to slowly build up my gift account. I have a separate bank account that I transfer money into every week, albeit, just a microscopic amount based on the amount of money I typically spend on gifts during the year. I use this fund to draw on as needed for birthdays, showers, weddings, but especially to use at the holidays so I can spend and enjoy!
In many ways, the holiday season reminds me of the fable of the tortoise and the hare, where a tortoise and a hare challenged each other to a race. The tortoise humbly made his way, slow and steady, to the finish line. Conversely, the overconfident hare decided he had plenty of time to speed to the finish line, so he ended up taking a long nap. In the end, the hare was quite surprised to find the tortoise on the other side of the finish line! And we are left with the age old saying: slow and steady wins the race. The same is true of the slow, but steady saving habit. Consistent, small, and incremental saving is the easiest way to reach those short-term savings goals, like having a holiday shopping savings account. There are no surprises, credit card bills, or worries as to how everything will be paid for, and you won’t spend the next 6 months digging out of debt!
Similarly, saving and investing for retirement are very much the same. The only difference is that it is over a much longer period and many unexpected changes can occur: loss of employment, marriage, divorce, children can all have an impact on our long-term retirement plan savings strategy. This is one of the reasons why starting early and staying on track as much as possible, will enable you to enjoy retirement, just like you can enjoy the holidays!
What are a few ways to save for retirement? Depending on whether you are an employee, owner of your own company, or a non-working spouse, there are numerous options. The different retirement options have varying rules, income thresholds and contribution limits, and we recommend consulting your tax advisor as there are various factors that may make your tax situation unique. As we approach the end of the year, this is the time to not only start thinking about year-end planning, but also looking forward to next year’s retirement options. Perhaps you can fully maximize your 401(k) contribution before the end of the year or are anticipating making an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contribution, which must be made by April 17th, 2017.
The most important factor is to take action with your savings, investing and retirement – don’t wait; don’t take a nap now and worry later, because you may wake up one day and realize that you are too far behind to catch-up. You want to cross that retirement finish line as soon as possible! At Meridian Financial Partners, we are here to help you in any way we can. We offer holistic financial planning so we can guide you in making strategic financial and investing decisions, allowing you to ultimately reach your retirement finish line and live your dreams!