Is Your Vacation Planning Stealing From Your Retirement?

Summer is unofficially over.

Labor Day is in the books. College football season has kicked off. And if you’re like the majority of Americans, you’ve taken a vacation.

That means you spent time researching and planning. Where you would go. How you would get there. What you would do. How much it would cost. Then there are the little details—taking care of the animals, coordinating time off, finding passports, packing suitcases.

So how much time did you spend planning and preparing for vacation? Now here’s a reality check: How much time have you spent planning for retirement lately?

Survey Says: It’s Not Okay

A recent survey among retirement savers showed that more than half of them spent five or more hours exploring vacation options. But only 11% of those savers spent as much time planning for retirement. In fact, about one-third of them spend less than an hour doing investing research. Yes, you read that correctly. You spend more time planning a vacation than planning for your retirement.

Vacation lasts a week, maybe two at the most. But retirement could last 20 years or more. Why are people spending so little time on something that could affect their lives (and the lives of loved ones) for decades? That’s not okay!

Research Says: Once a Week

In 2016, Ramsey Solutions commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults to discover how they’re doing with their retirement planning. The study showed that people who think about retirement, retirement goals, and/or their retirement plan about once a week report the highest levels of confidence when it comes to being ready for that time of their lives. Knowing where you are and where you’re headed makes a big difference in whether or not you actually get there!

Hogan Says: There’s No Excuse

Focusing on retirement once a week. Now that’s doable. Think your schedule is just too crammed to make time to think about, research, or take actions toward your retirement? I guarantee you have the time. Here are a few options for finding it in your busy schedule:

1. Turn Off the Tube

On average, Americans spend almost three hours a day watching TV. There’s not enough good stuff on TV to take up three hours a day! Instead of zoning out in front of the HD TV watching reruns, spend an hour a week working toward that HD retirement dream. Then, when you reach that destination, you can watch all the TV you want!

2. Step Away From Your Smartphone

I know, you feel lost without that little piece of technology in your hand. But we Americans are spending almost three hours a day in front of that screen! Think about it this way: If you stepped away from texting for just 60 minutes, you could make some significant progress in your retirement planning. And remember, that’s just one hour a week!

3. Take Advantage of Drive Time

The average commute time in the U.S. is around 30 minutes. That gives you plenty of time to think about where you are in your retirement planning and what your next steps should be. You could also take that time for some retirement education. Listen to an audio book on investing, or listen to podcasts (like mine!). Whatever way you spend that time, just use it wisely—not just to play your air guitar with your favorite ’80s rock band.

Listen up! You don’t want to tell your children that you have nothing saved for retirement because you spent all of your time and energy binge-watching the latest drama series on Netflix. You have the time—if you make retirement planning a priority. A little time management could mean making serious strides toward that high-definition dream!