I reluctantly met with the retirement representative of my employer last week. I say reluctantly because while I am all about reality checks in every other area of my life, I’m not as excited about them in the world of finances. Paying attention to my finances meant admitting I made poor choices with money in my past and reliving those painful decisions each time I pay my yearly visit. (I could stay oblivious for an entire year, however!). I didn’t like how that constant reminder felt.
The good news is that once I started following the teachings of Dave Ramsey, I realized I’m not too old and it’s never too late to take control of my future. I had to become intentional about where my money goes because if I am not paying attention to it, it goes down the drain. Even though it was painful and I didn’t understand it all, I begin visiting the financial representative each year to see where I stood. I wrote down my questions and asked for dumbed down explanations as needed. When it’s dealing with my money and my future, no question is too stupid. I took notes, I studied, read books and took on extra jobs to make up for the mistakes of my past. None of my friends understood the sacrifices I made and freely voiced their opinion. I was told I work too much, I needed to get more sleep, and so on and so on. I just stayed focused on my goal, not expecting anyone to understand how important my future is to me. The thing I find the most interesting is that people were more upset about me sacrificing cable than my living on the streets in the future because I had no money saved. A lot of people have that same standard line, “it will all work out”! I don’t understand how that happens without a plan, but each to his own!
I just kept going, appreciating their concern but understanding that my priorities are different than theirs. I care about the quality of life I will have in retirement, and have no plans to work until I drop dead. Each visit showed improvement, and that was encouraging.
During my visit two years ago I received good news and bad. I could now make it financially until age 75, but would need to sell my home to survive. I didn’t like how that felt. I advised the rep that I’d gotten healthy and lost 70 pounds so planned to live well past that age!! I needed a plan to stay in my home and asked him to share the cold, hard facts on how to make that happen. More reality! UGH! What I didn’t know, however, could hurt me as well as help me!
This year’s visit took place last week and my persistence has finally paid off! I am well on the road to financial peace, and it’s a blessing that I can now finally RELAX as I move into retirement. I look forward to traveling, but getting involved with my community and making a difference in the lives of others is a desire I’ve had for a long time. I’m now excited about my future, and it feels fabulous!