Now that I have your attention, let me explain. As someone with fewer years in the workforce when compared to most of my colleagues, I am often reminded that retirement is many, many years away. The word “retirement” gets thrown around a lot, but what exactly does retirement mean…no regular workweek, no debt, the freedom to go about your day as you please? What about doing all the things that you’ve always wanted to do, such as traveling our great country or having a beachfront condo?
For many millennials, retirement is the destination, but in reality, retirement is just another step along the journey. And if life is truly about the journey and not the destination, we must be sure that we are prepared for our journey. Our lives do not end the moment we leave the workforce. In fact, that’s when the next chapter—perhaps the best chapter—begins.
In the ever-uncertain times in which we live, we millennials need to be extra prepared when it comes to financial independence. Not a day goes by that I don’t read an article relating to social security’s final days or one stating that millennials will be in retirement just as long as they are working. It’s a scary thought. So what can you do to prepare yourself? How can you be sure that you’ve taken the correct steps that will lead you down the path of the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed about?
Jay Williams, fellow McKinley Carter associate, said it best in his April 2015 blog post titled “Wake Up, Millennials: Time is Your Biggest Asset”: contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, force yourself to save even $25/month, pass on your daily Starbucks latte. This article by Jamie Hopkins from Forbes points out that millennials may need to take a very different approach to retirement than prior generations. Work on/work off may not be the way of the future.
Make small sacrifices today, pay yourself first, and do all that you can to make retirement part of your journey and not the final destination. Knowing that you are financially secure will bring you peace of mind and will afford you the freedom to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.