While saving for retirement is often portrayed as an awesome — if not outright impossible — task, my experience causes me to take a different view.
I see people proving every day that it can be done. How? One common theme is that they treat preparing for retirement like a business.
Call it Retirement Inc. It works.
One of the most obvious similarities between retirement planning and running a business is
that both require a long-term strategy. Ideally, saving and investment planning might
start when a person is still 30 years or more from retirement.
Furthermore, given today’s life spans, the actual period in retirement being planned for can stretch to 20 or 30 years. By comparison, CEO’s and boards of directors wrestling with detailed strategic plans have it easy.
In order to retire comfortably, assets must be acquired, deployed, and managed. A company can turn the task over to its chief financial officer. At Retirement Inc. there’s no one but you.
There are administrative duties to attend to. Proper records have to be kept. Later, there will likely be insurance and health care arrangements to be made to replace coverage from company benefit programs. There is also personnel management, as planning for retirement may also involve a lawyer, accountant and Financial Advisor, among others. You are your own human resources department coordinating these efforts.
The key advantage of thinking of retirement planning like running a business is that it becomes systematic. A routine can be developed; a plan followed. This helps counteract any natural human tendencies to avoid thinking about unpleasant topics, such as getting older and to procrastinate before tackling involved tasks.
This dispassionate, businesslike approach is also particularly well suited to making appropriate, long-term investment decisions. It can help quell any impulse to look for sharp, short-term gains in investments that might be too speculative. It can also help people keep the day-to-day fluctuations of financial markets in per- spective. That way, people are less likely to alter their investment plans based on those inevitable periods of market uncertainty.
One way to convert a retirement plan into a business plan is to follow these four steps:
1) Know your client.
That’s you. When do you plan to retire? What do you hope to do? Perhaps you will have paid off your mortgage by the time you retire, or shortly thereafter, reducing your expenses substantially. On the other hand, you may have a child who may still be in college, incurring extra expenses.
2) Create a business plan.
What are your fixed expenses? How much income overall will you need? How much do you expect to get from Social Security, company pensions or other retirement benefits and from your own retirement savings? Don’t forget to factor in the effects of inflation.
3) Remain focused.
Business managers who take their eye off the ball often fail. Monitor your savings and investments. Compare them to your plan. You’ll discover any problems early in this way, when they are likely to be relatively simple to fix.
4) Update your plan as necessary.
Business managers know they must be alert to their client’s needs changing over time. Your retirement business plan should change as well. Perhaps you will decide to travel more. Or, you may decide you’ll sell your home and move to a resort community, and do very little other traveling. The birth
of a new grandchild may cause you to shift some funds to create a college fund for him or her.
Successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the greatest investment they ever made was to start their own business. You have the opportunity to enjoy a financially confident retirement by making it your business to properly prepare and plan.
Helping You Build a Firm Financial Foundation For You Future
Nico F. March is the Managing Director for The March Group, LLC. He has worked with Community Associations since 1974 and has served on several Boards, including the Board of Directors for the Community Association Institute (CAI), San Diego Chapter. His team has specialized in Corporate Cash and Association Financial Management since 1982 and has assisted over 1000 Associations, Nonprofits and Timeshares invest over $4 Billion in reserve, operating and reconstruction funds. Nico and his team work out of their San Diego and Wyoming offices and may be reached at 888.811.6501 or email [email protected] for further information and consultations.
The March Group is not a tax or legal advisor. We will be glad to work with your professional CPA and Attorney to help you with your financial goals. Neither the information contained herein nor any opinion expressed shall be construed to constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any securities mentioned herein. Clearing services provided by LPL Financial.