Retirement Planning in “Normal” Times
When planning for retirement we encourage people to envision what they believe their future life will look like. In normal times, people extrapolate the trends and technologies of today in a linear fashion into the future. A good example of this is “The Jetsons” which was set in 2062.
While flying cars and robot maids are still a distance proposition, they will likely look nothing like what was depicted in the original cartoon. The creators of “The Jetsons” simply used the technology they had at the time and futurized it. They had no idea innovations that would actually take place between 1962 and 2062.
Retirement Planning in Our Current Reality
If we were to ask someone to envision the future retirement based on what happened in 2020, they could likely imagine a future you would not want to be a part of. With a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and divided nation, it is very easy to find things to be negative about.
Reasons to be pessimistic is tend to dominate the news and you often have to look for reasons to be optimistic. Below are three books that I found helpful in allowing me to think more optimistically about the future:
3 Books to Shift Your Mindset
- The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves By Matt Ridley
- Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress By Steven Pinker
- Factfulness Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think By Hans Rosling
These books detail how life is better than we may think. Violence, global poverty, and child mortality all are decreasing. Human innovation and technological advancement are happening at an increasing rate. Progress is always taking place, even though it may not be directly visible to us.
Shifting Your Mindset
A positive mindset can be thought of as a “muscle”, meaning the more you train yourself to look for the good things, the easy it becomes to find them. If you are fortunate enough to be reading this post, there are likely millions, if not billions of people who would consider your current life to be the “dream life.”
Long-Term Optimism as an Investment Philosophy
“The first rule of compounding: Never interrupt it unnecessarily.”Charlie Munger
To allow a long-term optimistic investment philosophy to play out, you must secure yourself from the inevitable short-term crises. This security is money not exposed to market risk, used to provide a buffer to meet your current spending needs, and allow your assets exposed to the markets to remain untouched.
The size of this buffer is viewed as “X” number of years of future spending. The actual dollar amount can vary greatly from person to person but should be large enough to allow you not to have to sell long-turn investments during a market downturn. This can also be viewed it turns of having enough set aside to allow you to sleep soundly when markets are manic.
“Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”Voltaire
Disasters are inevitable, markets will boom and bust. Through all of this, we will continue to innovate and change for the better. Uncertainty of the future will always be present and optimism may become scarce. Prepare for these times, but have faith that a better future will prevail.
What Steps Can you Take Today?
- Think of 3 things you are grateful for
- Determine how much of a buffer you need for short-term expenses
- Create an investment strategy that allows you to take advantage of the long-term potential of the markets.
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