Your Friends Have Less Money Than You Think
This week I am going to give you a peak behind the curtain. Let’s take a look at what happens in my office, behind closed doors, when I meet with people much like you. Most of you have little perspective on other people’s financial lives because, frankly, nobody talks about their own finances to others. It is somewhat of a taboo subject.
In my office I get to see financial lives laid bare. Here are some of my observations after 18 years and thousands of meetings.
– Everybody thinks everybody else has a bunch of money. They don’t. Through my social security classes I’ve sat down with thousands of people from every walk of life. Maybe 5% have over $1,000,000, 20% have saved at least $500,000, and 40% possess $200,000 or more. A full 50% have limited retirement savings, but that doesn’t mean they are destitute. Some have pensions, some have equity in their home, and many find that living solely on social security is possible.
-Most Boomers are anxious about their retirement finances. I would say around 80-90% of the people with whom I’ve met would fall under that category. Studies show retirees worry more about running out of money than death. (source)
-Men underestimate how difficult the transition from work to retirement can be. Women seem more relational and often adapt quickly to their post-work life. Men sometimes lose their identity and find themselves adrift, searching for a way to reinvent themselves. I find guys often need one to six months to adapt (some ladies too).
-Most assume that their retirement savings should be invested in stocks and bonds. But when it comes to excess cash savings I’ve discovered a completely different attitude. If you have a bunch of money sitting in the bank, you need to give serious consideration to investing some of that money as well. Just make sure the account is liquid and accessible. Investing is not relegated only to retirement accounts.
-Do you know that thing where you tell your spouse to start eating healthier? Maybe you’ve be nagging him or her for years. And then you sit down with a doctor, who tells him/her to eat better, and they suddenly agree wholeheartedly and change their eating habits. The financial version of that happens all the time in my office.
-Relationships matter. I can help you feel secure financially. I can help you live a more confident and empowered retirement. But without building relationships with friends and family, humans struggle.
-Money means less and less to you as you get older.
-I’ve only heard good things about European river cruises and trips to Alaska.
-A majority of people say to me, “I am embarrassed how little I understand all this investing and financial planning stuff.” If you feel this way, it’s okay. You’re certainly not alone.
– Whenever I ask someone, “How long do you think you will live?”, they invariably think about how old their parents were when they passed.
I hear, “Well, my Dad lived to 89, and my Mom lived to 87, so I figure I’ll live to around then.” Or I hear, “Both my parents died in their early 60’s. I’m 65 now and I figure I am living on borrowed time.”
Medical advances have dramatically increased life expectancy. You can’t base your assumptions on your parents. You need to look at your own lifestyle and health history.
I will hear, “My parents died in their 50’s and now I’m in my 80’s. Never in a million years did I think I would live this long.” Then again I’ve also heard, “I can’t believe he passed away so young, both his parents lived into their 90’s.”
-99% of the public fall for the “financial news.” Nobody has any idea when the next recession will come. Nobody knows if the stock market is going up or down this year. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Stay the course. Leave emotion out of your financial decisions. Put a plan in place and let it work.
There is it. All the behind-the-curtain secrets of a veteran financial advisor. I hope you learned something!