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Save the Rain: Retirement Tips for 2016

retirement tips for 2016

There’s nothing more soothing than the sound of a gentle rain, and there’s no more soothing place to hear it than from a pillow, on a bed, in a cabin, in the Appalachian Mountains.  So it was that I found myself one night last week at our cabin in Blue Ridge, GA.

As I lay there listening to the peaceful symphony, my thoughts drifted to this blog.  Specifically, was there a linkage I could make between the enjoyable sound of that rain and personal finance? (Ok, I’ll admit I often have strange thoughts at night).

It came to me, and now it’s coming to you.  I trust that you’ll enjoy the analogy.

Rain, a life sustaining substance, delivered from the heavens in unpredictable cycles.  Rain, flowing into rivers, and seeping into the ground to unseen springs and caves.  Gravity, moving that rain down, down, never-ending down, to where it comes to rest in lakes or oceans, only to evaporate and start the cycle over again.

Yes, lakes, rivers, caves and springs.  But also: reservoirs.  And there lies the linkage to personal finance.

retirement reservoir

Many cities use reservoirs.  They’ve learned long ago that life is too dependent on a consistent water supply to trust it to chance. An extended period without rain and the necessary flow to citizens’ homes would stop.  Life can’t go on without that flow of water.  It MUST be maintained.

No water, no life.

I suspect you’ve uncovered the linkage to personal finance by this point.

Turning Your Income Stream Into A Savings Reservoir

Rain is like the income we earn throughout our lives.  It sometimes comes in unpredictable cycles, and there can be periods of drought.  When the money flows, life is good.

But what about when the money stops?

One thing we know; at some point your ability to trade your time for that flow of money will most certainly end.  Like rain, there’s difficulty in determining exactly when that flow will stop.  Many folks find themselves in a “drought” sooner than they expect.  In fact, as outlined in my article “Will You Be Forced To Retire Early”, 60% of folks are forced to retire sooner than they expect.

retirement image

Just as cities have recognized the importance of preparing for the inevitable drought, there are few things more important in your working years than to recognize your need for your personal reservoir.  Capture the flow of money during the rain.  Don’t consume it all while it’s raining, only to realize when it’s too late there’s nothing left to sustain your life.

Given enough time, a small stream will fill a reservoir.

So it is with your retirement savings.  Start early enough, and the amount of money you need to funnel into your retirement reservoir can be small.  In time, it will fill the reservoir.  Wait until close to the end of the rain, however, and you’ll be hard pressed to divert enough money to fill your reservoir.

If you haven’t started diverting some of your stream yet, start now.  No one is more interested in the status of your reservoir than you.  No one can fill it but you.  No one depends on it but you.

When the inevitable drought arrives, will you be satisfied that you’ve captured enough rain?

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