Can We Make Retirement Planning Easier?
For most people, addressing retirement issues is a costly, abstract and deeply psychological matter, which is apparent from a survey by Schwab Retirement Plan Services.
While most survey participants find their 401(k) – a workplace savings plan that lets employees invest a portion of their paycheck before taxes are taken out – a crucial benefit, with nine in 10 calling it a “must have,” most do not seek professional help to improve the plan’s performance. In fact, while 87 percent said they would seek professional help changing their car’s oil, just 24 percent would seek advice about their retirement plan’s investments.
“As a professional and rational human being, the survey’s findings do not seem to make sense, but human nature is often this way,” says Reid Abedeen, a partner at Safeguard Investment Advisory Group, LLC.
“Health-wise, for example, we know what’s good for us, yet we often choose an option that is unhealthy. Luckily, many of us come to a point in our lives where we finally follow the wisdom of heeding our own advice, and I would encourage more people who are approaching retirement to tend to their financial plans sooner than later.”
Abedeen discusses ways in which youcan more easily develop a relationship with your retirement finances.
• “Procrastination is the thief of time” and “Time is money.” Two simple but profound quotes – the first from Charles Dickens and the second from Benjamin Franklin – sum up the problem of neglecting retirement planning. There are issues that many of us would like to ignore and put off, both because it’s hard and complicated, and because we can. Retirement is always something that’s “down the road” – that is, of course, until it’s on your doorstep. Don’t let your future well-being, the ability to afford and enjoy the good life in your golden years, suffer. Admit to yourself that retirement planning needs your attention, Abedeen says. Find a professional you trust and take action. You’ll feel better.
• Develop a relationship with your money; find someone to talk to. Over time, adults get into a pattern with money. Direct deposit from work, direct withdrawals for bills, groceries, gas, etc. Between habit and automated banking, it’s easy to see why we might be disengaged. Find ways to engage with your finances. There are apps out there that can better connect you with one of life’s most important resources. You might think of it as a game, and it can even be fun.
Also, treat your future well-being at least as well as you treat your car. Find a trustworthy professional, who can help you get started with increased financial engagement and guide you over time. If you have an aversion to money matters, finding a likeable professional will be important. If you don’t like talking to your financial advisor, you may find yourself maintaining an unhealthy distance.