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Pattie Lovett-Reid: Keeping up with the Joneses? Be ready for a lean, unhappy retirement
Source: Flickr / Georgie Pauwels / Creative Commons 2.0
We need to face the facts: at some point, we’re going to retire.
There will come a time where your financial capital (your savings) takes over from where your human capital (the ability to go out and earn a living) leaves off.
Kurt Rosentreter, a prominent adviser in Toronto, says he’s outraged by the number of young, wealthy Canadians who are living too high on the horse now: travelling, employing nannies for much longer than they might need them, living and shopping in tony neighbourhoods. They may be earning $250,000 a year, but they’re not saving nearly enough for retirement.
On a certain level, I get it. You can afford your lifestyle today. But I’m worried about your lifestyle tomorrow.
Things can slide when you have a salary coming in, as shortfalls can be made up in the next paycheque. All is great as long as you have your high-paying job.
Where this gets dangerous is when the job comes to an end and you potentially face a dismal retirement. Not exactly the golden years you had envisioned. It is fundamentally wrong to think spending today as if there is no tomorrow is the right financial strategy, for anyone, no matter how much money you currently make.
Sometimes I wonder if we don’t already know this and we simply don’t care, as we desperately try to keep up with the Joneses (who may also be broke).
Manulife conducted a survey and found that Canadians’ financial stress levels continue to affect their health, with almost half of Canadians financially unwell, stressed, worried and five time less likely to engage regularly in any healthy activities.
Money is a huge stressor and financial wellness is often driven by how well we budget, plan for retirement, handle our debt situation, etc. Feeling financially out of control can impact your mental health -- and that leads to absenteeism rates and lost productivity and a general sense of miserableness. No one likes to feel out of control.
Our retirement could represent one-third of our life, and who doesn’t want to live a healthy lifestyle in retirement? According to Manulife, you are more likely to engage in healthy activities, have a healthier diet and say your health is excellent when you are financially fit.
Bottom line: You can live well now, but it won’t be a great retirement if you haven’t saved some money to fund your future. At the end of the working day, sadly, you will have no one to blame but yourself if you could have afforded to save, and you simply chose not to.