They say that you’ll never hear anyone at the end of their lives lamenting that they should have worked harder. What does it matter? We tell each other this to remind ourselves that there’s more to life than work.

On the other hand, if you talk to retirees, odds are you will hear them saying they wish they actually had started planning and saving earlier. In a retirement survey last month, for instance, 48% of retirees admitted they did not start saving early enough, and 57% said that everyone needs to start retirement planning by the age of 30. At the latest!

For me the long-term stuff too often ends up in the “too hard” basket. Life happens – the good and the bad, the planned and unplanned. There’s the debt we take on, the families we support, the educations we fund. Not to mention redundancies, separations, health expenses…

Yet that basket needs tipping.

A good way to start is simply by talking about it, especially if it’s been a bit taboo up to now. If family finances are separated, some couples may not even share with each other how much they earn. This may be good for some autonomy in the relationship, but not being able to have the money conversations provides a challenge when setting goals together.

It won’t take you long to spot some opportunities. The thing about people is that we typically overestimate how much we can handle in the short term (like when we take on debt), but we also tend to underestimate how much we can accomplish in the long term (like when we build a nest egg).

It’s never too early or too late to start – and if today’s retirees are any guide, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait to tip out that “too hard basket” and set some goals for a bright future.

 

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