Retirement Meditation #2: Do I spend more time planning vacation or planning for retirement?

Insights | Retirement Meditation #2: Do I spend more time planning vacation or planning for retirement?

Author: Paul A. Carl, CHSA, CPFA Vice President, Retirement Plan Consulting, Registered Representative

Do I spend more time planning vacation or planning for retirement?

My wife and I use to pick one Saturday morning in February to spend several hours planning our annual summer vacation. Twelve years into our marriage, we had an “a-ha” moment and adjusted the purpose of these planning sessions.

The “a-ha moment” came to us during a year in which the economy was down. We discovered deep travel discounts, and we could not come to an agreement on just one destination. 

Eventually, we agreed on two vacations—a spring break trip plus our normal summer getaway. Even with two vacations planned we still had not spent our entire travel budget allocated for the year.

Noodling how to spend the remaining funds, I looked over our retirement account statements. The struggling economy was also adversely affecting our investments. It occurred to me that we were not focused strategically on retirement planning and were only contributing enough to obtain our employers’ match. 

We rededicated our February Saturday morning to focus on annual retirement planning. For us, it’s more than crunching numbers. We update a dream book (think bucket list) that admittedly has become more realistic and grounded as we mature. We review our budget and our account statements. We use tools available through our 401(k) providers as well as through general finance websites. And we make adjustments year-over-year based on where we stand currently and where we want to be at retirement.

Are you spending more time planning for that week-long vacation or your future retirement?
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