Kicking Retirement Planning Into High Gear: What’s Your Story?

Everyone’s story is different, but every person has a story—that experience that inspired them to get serious about planning for their retirement. In a recent Facebook post, I asked followers to tell me what inspired them. And I got some great responses.

What better way to encourage you to focus on your retirement savings than to share those stories? Hopefully, they’ll be just the swift kick you needed to get you laser-focused on your retirement goals.

1. I started [saving for retirement] at 22, but seeing quarterly statements with accumulating wealth and future projections was a motivator. When I finally got debt-free in 2008, I realized I could fritter away a lot of money with nothing to show for it, or I could just amp up my retirement savings and continue to live below my means. Now I see it as my freedom fund. It feels good to be 50 and confident about my progress. — Elizabeth

2. Watching the debt snowball get bigger and bigger—going from paying off $100 a month to $250 to $500—[and] realizing if I just used the same principles in saving. Once the debt was paid off, I dug even deeper to put more into savings on top of what previously was going to debt. — Paul

Related: The Road to Retirement Using the Baby Steps (debt snowball included)

3. I have always had big retirement dreams since I was a kid (opening my own gym). The story of Ben and Arthur from Financial Peace University really showed me the power of compound interest and the possibility of opening my gym earlier than expected. Then, your book [Retire Inspired] helped show me an even clearer way to get there. I’m on Baby Step 3 now [building an emergency fund of 3–6 months of expenses] and can’t wait to get through it in order to start making that dream a reality as soon as physically (and financially) possible! — Brittany

4. My parents retired and treated us all to a vacation to Disney Hawaii! — Lauren

5. I realized that we had to make better financial planning decisions when I saw that our daughter would head off to college when I wanted to retire. That made me look into FPU and get more serious about having a plan for retirement and college. — Dave

Related: Feeling the Pressure with Retirement Planning, Aging Parents, and Kids’ College

6. Way back 30 years or so, the owner of the company got involved in the 401(k) system and said, “Invest in it and at 59 1/2 you could retire.” Seems like at the time I was one of the few who listened to the man. In three more months, I will be 59 1/2. And on the first of the year, I think I’m done with work! — Tim

7. Watching close relatives enter their 60s with no money, no savings, no skill set, and in the middle of a foreclosure. There is no retirement for them now. — Nicole

8. Seeing my in-laws on the brink of retirement and unable to conceptualize a retirement plan not built around maximizing Social Security. — Randi

If you haven’t started taking retirement savings seriously, consider this your wake-up call. You will retire one day, whether you’re ready or not, so it’s time to pay attention! You control your money, so you control your retirement future!