Now, I’m a coach. I like to focus on the positive. That’s my thing. Today however we’re going to take a slight detour so we can learn from others. There are 3 basic kinds of learners in my experience; the person who is told, “There’s a huge hole in the road at Main Street. You might want to take another route.” You know what? They do take another route! There is the learner who hears this news and decides they will just go look…maybe from a distance but they want to…you know…just look. And then there’s the learner who jumps in that massive hole. They roll around in the massive hole before popping back up and saying, “oh, that was one heck of a hole!” If you’re the type who wants to either avoid the huge hole or who prefers to take a look from the distance this one is for you. As for the “I’ll roll in it” crew, well, this is more of a road map for you!
Biggest mistake? Not financially planning. If nothing else, you’ve got to have some idea of your financial situation. I know a woman who didn’t start working until she was in her late 40’s and then it was at a job that only paid a menial hourly wage; at 64 she was tired of doing very difficult physical work with little pay. When she was told her monthly pension from the company would be less than what she was currently making per month she was forced to stay at the job until her Social Security was at it maximum payout in order to survive. There was no travel for her, no new car, no new furniture.
Next on the hit parade? Putting all your eggs in one basket. Do you know about the American ‘Rust Belt’? It’s a portion of the US that got its name because of all the manufacturing jobs that were previously there. Those jobs and those pensions are gone when the companies went bankrupt.
This is followed by, “My kids will take care of me.” In some cultures this is the expectation. It is a fine expectation and one that may work in another part of the world but if your kids are born and raised more locally they are likely not to accept this notion. China is a sadly excellent example of this belief system going off the tracks. When China instituted the “One Child” law during the Cultural Revolution they hadn’t thought through what would happen as the natural aging process happens. The problem there is that a majority of those “one child” children have moved to the cities or out of the country and their parents are left to fend for themselves.
Last ‘Gone Wrong’ that I see more often than I want to? Putting your adult children’s needs above your own. More older Americans than ever before are taking care of their grandchildren, not to mention other financial drains their parents never faced. We can spend time discussing how retirement has changed, and it has, but that’s for another time. What we do know is that unless you have a stated, and clearly spelled out, agreement with your children about both their needs as well as yours, it is likely better for you to put yourself first on the priority list.
Basic message for today? Please take care of you first. Plan for what is more than likely going to come; retirement! Please don’t tell me you won’t get there or that others will take care of you. We get to, and quite frankly need to, take care of ourselves first. How have you put your own needs first this week? Would love to hear from you!
Best for your week!