Are You Shaming Yourself Out of Retirement?

In my years of financial coaching, I’ve noticed that people have a lot of different reactions when I suggest working with a professional investing advisor as they save for retirement.

Some people are relieved, because they know they need the experience and advice of an expert who can help them make wise investing choices. But others feel intimidated by the thought of discussing money matters with a stranger—even worse, a stranger who can point out where they’ve messed up.

They’re embarrassed to admit to anyone exactly how far behind they are in preparing for retirement. Shame and regret paralyze them, so they go into ostrich mode, putting their heads in the sand and putting off that discussion. That just gets them further and further behind year after year.

Making the Impossible Possible

So how do you move beyond the shame? Begin by understanding that you are just like everyone else. Everyone believes they’re behind at saving for retirement, no matter what their numbers are. I once coached a guy who had $2.5 million stashed away, but he was convinced he would have to keep working for the rest of his life.

Actually, he was only a few simple changes from being able to retire! He just needed a professional who could point out those changes so he could take action on them. The same may be true for you. All you need is an objective investing professional to show you what steps you can take today that will allow you to enjoy a retirement you thought was a fairy tale. Don’t let shame or embarrassment keep you from talking to someone who could help change your future.

When Change Hurts

The second thing you need to accept is that anything of significance requires sacrifice. Your advisor may suggest changes that aren’t easy. Taking action on them is going to hurt—in the short-term. But when your actions match your goals, you’ll see that the hard work and sacrifices are worth your effort.

Think about how good life will be when you reach your goal—you don’t owe anyone anything, you’ve saved wisely, and you’re giving to charities and blessing others. Think about the extra time you’ll be able to spend with your children. Envision the first foreign country you’ll visit. Picture that business you want to open. Achieving those dreams will be possible because you made the hard choices to get there.

Glance Back, Focus Forward

If you glance back but look forward, the regret you once felt can become a slave instead of the master. Instead of letting it paralyze you, you can use it to drive you forward. It’s good to glance back every once in a while, but focus on what’s in front of you. That’s why a car’s windshield is so much bigger than its mirrors!

Regret reminds you that you’re not just talking about saving for retirement; you’re taking action each and every day. You’re driving a used car, you’re shopping smarter, and you’re saying the magic word NO. You’re giving yourself limits because you have a goal in mind—your dream retirement.

I get it. Regret is a powerful emotion. It’s tough to look back on your life and wish you’d done things differently 10, 20 or 25 years ago. But here’s the thing about regret: It always wants us to look back. I want you to look forward! I want you to have hope and know all is not lost. There is still time to make a change for a better future. But you need to initiate that conversation now.

Take that first step. Schedule a meeting with a qualified investing professional. If you don’t have an advisor you trust, we can put you in touch with someone who has earned our recommendation and endorsement. Be ready to lay it all out—the good, the bad, and the ugly. And expect to hear a little of each in return. But don’t let your past mistakes distract you from the goals you’ve set and the plans that will get you there.