Learn from the best

Let’s say you’re a college quarterback looking to make it to the next level. You know you need to hone your game, put in the reps and the hours. But you also need to learn more about the game and how to play it at a high level.

Where would you turn? What would you do?

For most, they would seek out an expert. They would watch video of other great quarterbacks. They would mimic their movements and attempt to adopt their playing style.

What wouldn’t you do, on the other hand, to elevate your game? Ask your buddy who has only played backyard pickup games.

Interestingly, that’s exactly what most people do when it comes to preparing for retirement. They don’t look to the experts. Instead, they ask a friend, a co-worker, a family member or a neighbor. It doesn’t matter that those individuals may not have any expertise on the subject. In fact, they may be more like a high school quarterback that never made it anywhere than they are the next Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Dan Marino or Joe Montana.

Money can be a sensitive subject. That’s why people often turn to those close to them for advice. I get it. But it doesn’t necessarily make it wise.

If you are looking to successfully prepare for retirement, it makes sense to go to the experts. I’m not talking about financial advisors, per se. I’ve seen plenty of advisors who have failed to practice what they preach, leaving themselves with a nest egg that looks more like a nest bb.

I have written in the past that the people who are best prepared for retirement aren’t usually expert investors. Rather, they are expert savers. It’s true. When it comes to retirement planning, saving is far more important than investing.

So, experts on preparing for retirement, in my opinion, are those who have saved at an expert level. Call them the Patrick Mahomes of money.

A recent survey collected the wisdom of these types of individuals. In the survey, they were dubbed “super savers.”

The super savers were asked for their best advice on saving for retirement. Here are their top responses:

Live below your means. Save enough to receive the maximum employer match. Strive to save at least 10 percent of your compensation. Pay off credit card balances each month.

Those are all standard pieces of advice. There’s nothing revolutionary about them.

They also suggested that their success in preparing for retirement was largely due to sacrifices they made along the way.

The super savers generally: drove older vehicles, owned a modest home, traveled less than they would like and cleaned their own home rather than hiring a house cleaner.

Again, nothing about those recommendations is groundbreaking, but they are effective.

The super savers offered a lot of great advice in the survey. But they didn’t reveal their real secret. They didn’t disclose what truly made all the difference in the world. It wasn’t just that they drove older vehicles. Or saved at least 10 percent of their compensation. Or that they scrubbed their own toilets.

It’s that they did those things for decades – day after day, month after month, year after year.

The secret is not just doing the right things. It’s doing the right things consistently over time.

That’s the real lesson. That’s what we should learn from the best when it comes to successfully preparing for retirement.

Justin Lueger, CFP®, is President of Invisor Financial LLC, a registered investment adviser firm in the State of Kansas. All opinions expressed are his own and should not be viewed as individual advice. He can be reached at [email protected]

This column is paid for by Invisor.

 

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