Weather and Retirement – A Tale of Two Perspectives

peter Blatt

Cape Cod is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The seafood is amazing and most of the smaller towns have at least 3 ice cream parlors.

My family and I went to the Cape in early August for a week-long vacation. While we were there, the weather was in the 50s at night and mid 60s during the day.

Some of our fellow travelers were saying this is really cold weather. Now, we are from Florida and the weather during August is mid 90s during the day and high 80s during the night.

The weather in the Cape felt great. Thinking about the weather and comparing one part of the country to another reminds me of an important lesson in retirement.

If you retire with $250,000 at age 65 today, you are much better off than 95% of the US population.

If you are used to living off of $35,000 a year you should be able to stretch that money. Simple math tells us that your money will last a little over 7 years.

Now the reality is most American’s have about $25,000 saved up for retirement. If you are used to living off of $35,000 a year, your money will not even last you 1 year into retirement. The big question is why don’t we save more for retirement?

As a financial planner, every day I meet with client’s who over save. They come in with $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 of investments and only plan on touching $30,000 to $40,000 per year of their savings. The clients have paid off their mortgages, don’t have car payments, and have high social security/ pension income.

These clients live well within their means and could never imagine having to borrow for their retirement. They are planning on only spending 2 to 3% of their retirement each year. What allows some people to save more than others?

The simple answer to why some people save more than others is effective habits. The most damaging habit is spending more when you make more.

As you are working you should not spend your bonus or your salary increases. You should save those either into your 401(k) or your personal investment account.

The most beneficial habit is spending only what you limit yourself to spend. If you have only $800 a month to spend on your household (groceries, clothes, etc.) then that is all you should spend.

At the beginning of the year set a goal about how much you plan to spend on each category of your expenses and only spend that much.

If you find yourself getting short of money in a specific category, then stretch it for the rest of the month. If you have spent $650 on food and it is September 22, well it means you only have $150 left for the last week of September if $800 is your budget.

The weather in Cape Cod is either cold or hot depending on your perspective. If you are a saver and live well within your means, it is just right.

If you don’t follow the guidelines of proper saving and watching your spending, the weather will always be either too cold or too hot.

Until Next Time,

Peter Blatt

Peter Blatt is the president at Blatt Financial Group. He has more than 17 years’ experience in the financial industry. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Boston University, a law degree and a post doctorate degree in tax from the University of Miami School of Law. He is an active member of the Florida Bar Association, the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the former secretary of the Tax Section of the Florida Bar. He has been published or quoted in numerous periodicals including The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, SUCCESS Magazine and on Fox Business News.