As Halloween approaches and spookiness abounds, I listen to the excited conversations between my 4 year-old and 6 year-old children. They are discussing costume selection, their “trick-or-treating” route, haunted houses, and of course – candy!
While my children continue talking, arguing then talking some more about Halloween, my mind begins to wander. I think back to my childhood Halloween celebrations that my parents always made so special. Their house was decorated to the haunted hilt. My parents spent months prior to October 31st diligently working on the homemade pumpkin piñata for the annual family costume party.
As I pull myself out of my childhood reflection to settle a battle between my children regarding who is the best superhero, I can’t help but compare Halloween to Retirement planning. Both can be very frightening, but the parallels continue. Don’t be scared, keep reading…
- Witch Way? – The path you take and the way one reaches their trick-or-treating and retirement goals differs. Proper and smart planning along with a strategy is required to meet candy collection and retirement goals. Are you taking the long and winding road riddled with opaqueness, dark houses, potholes and terrifying risks? Or, have you decided on a clearer path, a paved and more comfortable road with street lights and directional signs? Deciding what you want and expect from your retirement is the first step of the journey.
- Must Haves – As we embark on our journey to efficiently meet our goals of maximum candy and retirement savings, there are a few things to take. For trick-or-treating, don’t forget to take along the helpful flashlight, clothing reflectors and the largest candy pail you can carry. For retirement planning, carry with you the map / strategy your financial planner has prepared. Review it frequently to stay on course.
- Variety – While Reese’s Cups steal hearts, a trick-or treat bag full solely of these amazing peanut butter cups is likely to leave children disappointed. If they are anything like my children, they want the gummy candies, tootsie rolls, and other assorted chocolatey goodness. The same holds true for our retirement bags. They must offer variety in the form of asset allocation and diversification to help increase returns and reduce the risk of disappointment.
- Fear Factor – Spiders, bats, scary costumes and haunted music can spook even an expert trick-or-treater. This is similar to market downturns, disappointing earnings and uncertainty spooking investors.
- Fun size – Al Roker, from The Today Show, said that “there is nothing fun about fun-sized candy bars”. The same holds true for retirement and the desire for the biggest and most fulfilling golden years.
- Age – You are never too old to enjoy Halloween, just as though you are never too old to begin saving for retirement. While you may put the kibosh on trick-or-treating at some point, and you most likely have a limited time to plan and save for retirement, seize today and begin making memories and a positive impact to your future.
- Consequences – There are consequences for poor planning. They come in the form of empty candy pails and small retirement savings. A little effort goes a long way. Take a few moments to plan for a fun, successful and memorable experience.
I wish you a happy Halloween!
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