In our profession, financial advisers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time getting their clients to focus on the future; and in most cases, that can be a good thing. Unfortunately, too much focus on the future can undermine a client’s present day quality of life.
At some point in most of our lives, whether we like it or not, our ability to earn an income will diminish or be eliminated, and we will have to live off of what we have accumulated during our careers. So there is definitely good reason to plan for one’s future; but how does someone know if they are overdoing it? By that I mean that they are sacrificing too much quality of life today, for what they hope will be a better tomorrow.
Quality of life can be a difficult concept for most of us to assess. In getting beyond the typical food, clothing and shelter issues, quality of life really addresses whether you are making the most of your talents, and have the time to pursue your vocation, as well as your avocations. Time is a finite resource. All of us are allotted the same amount of time, regardless of our state in life. Quality of life can diminish when we allocate nearly all of our time to the pursuit of earning money, with relatively little time reserved to non-monetary interests such as fitness, recreation or socializing.
There is no time like the present to strategize about your ideal mix of money making and other types of pursuits. In order to make any meaningful changes in your life, you must visualize the ideal.
Once you have a good handle on your preferred mix of work and leisure, it is a good idea to estimate the percentage of your lifespan that may remain. As an example, a male age 60 has a 21 year life expectancy according to Social Security. The fact that you may have lived through 74% of your projected life expectancy may give you the impetus to make a positive change in your life.
It is great to save for the future. Just make sure that you do not sell out the present in the process.