There’s More to it Than You May Think
Imagine this: you plant a beautiful flower garden and tend it faithfully for forty years. You protect it from stormy weather and pests, you never pick its beautiful blooms and you don’t traipse through it for fun. You never even get close enough to smell the fragrant flowers or run your hands through them because you’re focused solely on growing them taller and stronger without hindering their progress.
Decades pass and your garden continues to grow until, one day, it simply stops. You look around at the multitude of flowers and think to yourself, “What was all that hard work really for?”
Many people manage their finances in a similar way – getting so caught up in the work of tending a garden that they fail to think about enjoying the seeds they’ve sown.
Does this sound like your financial planning situation? If you’ve been spending all your working years growing your money through dedication and hard work without stopping to smell the flowers, it may be time to reexamine the purpose your money is serving. If you don’t, you could be in for a retirement devoid of “purpose” as you know it.
Developing a Sense of Purpose
Working hard and saving for retirement is a worthy goal, of course, and there is a purpose for your savings. However, money alone cannot add true purpose to your life. This is why so many retirees suddenly find themselves feeling a bit lost when they are no longer working and growing their assets. They are left with a feeling of “what now?” and may feel a bit adrift when no longer tethered to a job or a financial goal.
You don’t have to feel like this, though. By tending to both your financial garden and living a meaningful life at the same time, you can develop an overarching sense of purpose that won’t leave you feeling bereft once you retire.
Here’s how to do it: Don’t wait until retirement to start harvesting your garden and enjoying the fruits of your work.
Instead, shift your mindset to one that balances serving your financial goals with enjoying life. There’s no need to wait until age 65 to start – you can prune your garden a bit each year with the purpose of fully enjoying your life in the here and now. You’ll still be growing your garden for the future, but you’ll also begin making a subtle transition that will serve you well when you retire and face the prospect of replacing your prior working time with leisure activities.
If you truly want to lead a purposeful life, ask yourself what you’re really saving for in retirement anyway. Is your goal to travel, to purchase a summer home or to golf a new course each week? These are all aspects of life that you can begin enjoying now if you reconsider the purpose of the money you’re working so hard to save.
When it comes to financial planning, consider putting your life at the center of your planning process. You don’t have to become a slave to saving; it’s possible to use your means to create more meaning and purpose in your life long before you reach retirement age.