"Do I have enough?"
This question is asked by just about every client with whom I have a conversation. By doing some calculations with conservative assumptions, we can arrive at a number for every individual or family unit regarding the amount of money they need to have in their retirement account to ensure financial security for the rest of their life.
What is interesting to me is even after there is a plan in place, along with a fully funded retirement account, there still seems to be lingering doubt in most people’s minds about having enough money. Why does this kind of self-doubt bubble from within?
I believe it comes down to perspective and faith. If you are truly a person of faith, it is easy to believe God is in control. It takes a separate act of faith to live that out through the daily circumstances of life. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust, must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2, NIV)
Living our faith in finances becomes our responsibility as God has entrusted us HIS assets that can be used for his glory. This is in contrast to a world system that says there is never enough as the bar of measurement is always changing.
So, accepting our stewardship role, I am including some financial strategies that will help you plan properly for your future.
1. Budget Your Future Retirement Expenses
Reviewing current expenses can be a starting place for your future needs. Upon retiring, calculate future expenses by multiplying current expenses by 75%. For some families the reduced cost is based upon the savings from eliminating or reducing expenses such as continued education, commuting costs and work related clothing allowance. Take in consideration the “honey do list” and retirement travel that will affect the “just retired” families as this can easily add back substantial cost to the budget.
2. Review How Much Retirement Income You Will Receive
Social Security, Pension Income and Annuity Payments usually are guaranteed income you will receive during retirement. Understand this income is the foundation for your future retirement plan.
3. Consider All Investments
The current investments outside your retirement money can also be utilized for income. You can use other investments to make up any shortfall of income from guaranteed income. Another consideration is when will the house payments cease and if you are planning on downsizing your current home. Both of these are instrumental in projecting if you will have enough resources.
4. Measure the Variables
Life expectancy, inflation, investment returns and medical costs are the big variables. When planning for individuals, I will usually utilize life expectancy of 95 years, inflation of 3% and an investment return of 5%. This will depend on variables of each individual regarding their family history and risk tolerance. Be conservative as it will protect you from disappointment in the future.
Implementing these strategies will allow you to measure your progress towards financial security. But I have one more financial truth to insure your success in this area.
The clouds were dark and hung low as I awoke to the sound of rain hitting the roof of my house. I knew instantly when I looked out my kitchen window it was going to be a cold, wet winter day in Texas. I put on my grey sweats, combed my hair, got the paper, woke up the girls, fed the dogs, and arrived at my kitchen bar to spend a few minutes catching up on the day’s events.
But this day started out a little differently than the others. As soon as I woke up and hung my legs over the side of the bed, a question popped into my head. “If I have nothing else in life, is God enough?”
This thought interrupted the usual start of my day. I went on to mull this question over in my mind throughout the course of the next few days. I kept thinking about the story of Job, a faithful servant of God who lost everything, yet never cursed God.
I have pondered this question for months in regards to my finances, faith and my future. The result of this process has created a new question that we all need to ask ourselves- “Is God Enough?” I know the truth that he is, but now I must have faith and live the truth even when the world tells me differently.
Guy Hatcher – known as The Legacy Guy – has spent his lifetime helping families plan their legacy. His new book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is now available at amazon.com. Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher or contact him at www.guyhatcher.com
Publication date: October 31, 2014