You’d never leave your smartphone on the factory settings, so why set-and-forget your retirement?
For many of us, the effort we put into planning our next vacation far exceeds the attention we give to retirement planning. You waded through so many forms when you started that new job. Retirement stuff got the ‘set-and-forget’ treatment.
Your employer’s generous contribution matching may even have factored into your decision to join the firm. But, fine tuning your allocations, well, that was just going to be on auto-pilot while you got accustomed to the new gig. Perhaps an important life event triggers a cursory review while you add a beneficiary. But it’s easy to lose track of something that seems conceptual and distant when your present days whir past in a blur.
Retirement planning isn’t just your golden years
Regardless of your conscious approach, life is an Agile development process. You iterate through it. You strategize and implement. And a few iterations later, you’re several sprints into an unanticipated new release. Wherever you’re at—a fresh graduate, a veteran entrepreneur, navigating family or a bucket list—it can be hard to find time to think about where you’d like to be when the dust settles. But retirement planning is more than a distant safety net.
Reframing retirement: Active wealth management grows lifestyle and legacy
If you have a retirement fund, what you actually have are investments. Let’s reframe this. Your investments aren’t hypothetical. And they’re not distant or down-the-line. You are investing in your future, sure. But wealth is something you actively build now.
Wealth is how you ensure that you can maintain your desired lifestyle, even when you get that curveball. For better or worse, there’s always a curveball. A diversified investment portfolio can be the difference between tripping over the stress and the security that enables the agency to direct the play. Wealth is how you go beyond safety nets to create a legacy.
Some employers have amazing investment options. And that’s great. But your employer’s retirement and investment options are designed to serve you and your colleagues. That’s not a bad thing, but are your lifestyle and legacy worth a little independent research?
The average American spends over three and half hours a day on their smartphone. What if you unplugged for just one day and used those three or four hours to check out your options? Check out some of these quick reads recommended by financial advisor Kristin Polito of Morgan Stanley:
- Power of Purse Highlights Women’s Wealth Leadership Power of Purse Report details growing influence of women as wealth creators.
- Women Changing the Conversation Gender inequality is a persistent problem for society. Here’s how several highly influential women think we can begin to address it.
- Mentorship That’s More Than a Buzzword Morgan Stanley’s Innovation Lab, an accelerator for multicultural and women-led startups, pairs entrepreneurs with seasoned, in-house pros to break down barriers to success.
For a deeper dive, Kristin also recommends the books pictured in this post. Note, by using the affiliate links in the book images, your purchases help WEST bring you more opportunities for personal and professional development at no extra cost to you. Thanks in advance for investing in WEST and the Boston STEM community!
Financial agency and sustainable wealth start with you, but you don’t need to go it alone
You already have a full-time job. Educating yourself about your options—401k, IRA, real estate or venture capital?—is important. Have you thought about talking to a financial advisor? Unlike your employer plan, which needs to balance the needs of an entire organization, a financial advisor will focus solely on you. On growing your assets into sustainable wealth that serves your goals on your timeline.
There’s a common misconception that you only see a financial advisor when you already have assets to invest. But that’s not the case. Financial advisors are there to help you learn how to create that wealth. That security. That agency. Whether you’re starting from scratch or rolling over fifteen years of IRAs and stock options.