Our experiences shape us. We can agree on that, right?
And as much as we’d like to think we learn from the mistakes of others, the truth is… most of us don’t. We learn “the hard way,” through our own personal trials and tribulations.
Financially, the lessons we learn from the school of hard knocks can be costly!
I’m not only talking about dollars and cents. I mean costly in the sense that financial lessons learned the hard way often rob us of years, even decades, of our precious time. They set us back… hold us back… prevent us from reaching our full potential… from living life to the fullest.
Most costly of all, financial lessons and mistakes will rob millions of Americans of the opportunity to retire and live comfortably through their golden years.
The stats are mind-blowing…
“Thirty-six percent of American workers age 55 to 64 say they have less than $25,000 in retirement savings.” — Employee Benefit Research Institute
“Fifty-one percent of households are at risk of not having enough savings to maintain their standard of living after retirement.” — The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
“Sixty-six percent of Americans said their top financial concern was not having enough money for retirement.” — Gallup Poll
React Today, Not Tomorrow
The year was 2008.
I was working as an adviser for a Fortune 500 financial planning firm. Each week, I met with dozens of families. Their stories were all different, yet all the same.
Simply put: The goal, for each, was to get to 65 with a nut big enough to last. Although no one seemed to know what that meant — how big? How long? And HOW?
My analysis usually showed a shortfall in savings. Roughly 80% of our clients were behind the curve.
As a licensed financial adviser, I was expected to toe the company line and only recommend strategies and investments that were “pre-approved,” more or less.
I found it odd that our recommendations in 2008 weren’t all that different from all the years prior. The state of the market seemed to make no difference.
And the entire time, I had a sense that there must be a better way, so I read everything I could find about non-traditional investment strategies. And thousands of pages later, I came away with two realizations.
1) “Passive” investing is risky. It requires the investor to give away too much control to the whims of the market.
2) You have to play both sides of the market. The best way to limit your profits and increase your risk is to look only to the long side (i.e. buying).
My only goal today is this: To spur you to make a proactive decision about your financial future. Make it today, not tomorrow or someday. Make it right this minute.
Whether you hire a professional, go it alone, only YOU can decide what you’re willing to do to reach your financial goals.
I personally think you’d be better off taking the bull by the horns. Switch gears and leave passive, long-only investing behind and learn more about my approach to active investing here.