With Razorback football season finally here, we’ll all be blocking out time in our Saturdays for the next few months to watch the games. It’s been a long summer of anticipation to see how the Hogs are going to perform this year especially after losing several of our key players from last season to the NFL draft. Many of us have been keeping up with the practice schedules, new recruits, and the Red/White scrimmage with expectation of a good season. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the Razorbacks over the last several years, it’s that our mental game is just as tough to keep in shape as our physical game. We spend all this time practicing, running drills, and doing two-a-days but when it’s the 4th quarter and we’re down by 10 points, the pressure is on! For many people, this is the same concept as where they are in their retirement preparation game: 4th quarter, pressure is on, down by 10 points, and the decisions you make will decide whether you go home celebrating or with your head down.
We see this scenario all too often. People often do not realize how critical saving for retirement is until it’s the 4th quarter. This is not something we are taught in school, nor is it something that has always been a problem. If you think back a few generations, most people who “retired” from the company in which they worked were provided a pension plan in which they didn’t have the responsibility of putting money into. In that generation, retirement had a totally different connotation than it does today. It was an age. Today, retirement is not defined by how old you are, or how long you’ve worked. Retirement is achieved by how many dollars you have saved. Oh and by the way, saving those dollars is YOUR responsibility.
Just like in football, whenever we find ourselves in this situation we need to go back to our training and rely on the fundamentals we’ve been practicing. So here are 3 basic fundamentals you can refer back to if you find yourself in the 4th quarter of your working years and you feel the pressure of retirement.
Blocking & Tackling – Think of this to be the financial equivalent of Budgeting and Saving. These are the two main ingredients of a healthy financial picture. If we don’t block ourselves from some of the impulse purchases we make and tackle the savings goal we set for ourselves, then the rest of our financial picture will not have a firm foundation to stand on.
Keep Your Eyes on the Ball – You have to begin with the end in mind. If you keep your mind focused on goals ahead of you, then it becomes much easier to make that extra IRA contribution and maybe not buy a boat this year.
Listen to your Coach – Even the star player on the team is nothing without the coach helping everyone to work together. It’s critical that you have a coach to help you set your goals, develop a plan for success, and to encourage you along the way.
Whether you’re at half time or the 4th quarter, the victory is yours for the taking. What will you do to take the lead?