We live in a time when it is basically possible to get whatever we want when we want it. We can order food any time of the day, place an order online and have it the next day, or turn on the television and watch something instantly. There is a sense of or expectation of instant gratification, significant influences from social media and peer pressure to always have the best, to “keep up with the Joneses,” and a greater focus on the immediate future. We are more concerned with our current well-being and often times forget to plan for the future, specifically retirement and old age. This focus on the present has a significant negative impact on our financial well-being. We may be continually living paycheck to paycheck or racking up significant debt to always get what we want when we want it. If we are constantly driven by what we want in the moment or immediate future, we are most likely neglecting to have an emergency fund, savings, orretirement plan. It may not seem like a big deal now, but planning for retirement is extremely important and something everyone needs to be doing.
According to Fidelity, an individual should have the equivalent of their current salary saved by age 30, three times their salary at 40, six times their salary at 50, eight times their salary at 60, and 10 times their current annual salary saved by the time they are 67 years old. And those number can range even higher, from 11-12 times your final income to two million dollars regardless of salary, depending on which financial firm or professional you ask. How much you need to save for retirement is also contingent upon the lifestyle you want to live and extra costs you will have to cover when no longer employed, meaning there is not a specific formula or number to follow. There are also factors to take into account when saving for retirement, such as plans to buy a home, have children, travel the world, etc. Just thinking about retirement can be anxiety producing in and of itself.
Looking at the guidelines mentioned above, it is no wonder that people have significant anxiety and avoidance about retirement and fail to plan accordingly. It can be very stressful to try to both enjoy the moment and worry about the future. In my work as a Financial Therapist, I frequently hear something along the lines of “I don’t need to worry about retirement now, that is so far away” or “I will worry about it later, I want to enjoy life now.” Most individuals do not want to “sacrifice” part of their income now for something later. Even though this may bring happiness in the present moment, this mentality will only result in having to work past the age of retirement, poor quality of life in old age, and possible anxiety or depression related to financial stressors and issues.
It can seem overwhelming, or maybe even pointless if those numbers seem unattainable, but no matter your age or situation, start saving for retirement now. Even if it is a small amount weekly, monthly, or annually, it is something more than you had before. Take a look at your budget and see if there are areas in which you can cut back in or even cut out. Make more meals at home, cut back on the cab or Uber rides, clip coupons, invest wisely, and maintain a budget that accounts for a portion for retirement. When you have a stressful day at work make a deposit or extra contribution into your savings or retirement fund and celebrate the fact that you are closer to being able to retire. All of these little efforts will add up and help to decrease the anxiety or stress you may feel about retirement.
If you are feeling anxiety or stress about budgeting or planning for retirement, or any other financial stressor or issues, please contact Symmetry Counseling today to schedule an appointment with a Financial Therapist.