At a tender age of ten, my physical education (P.E) instructor at the public, neighbourhood school I attended, would scream at the top of his lungs as we struggled to complete the entire obstacle course,
“BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND,”
Our feeble attempts were in vain. Most of us, myself included, collapsed by the side of the running track, desperately gasping for air. I sat clutching the side of my stomach, resisting the urge to throw up.
The end in mind for me was to complete the entire course.
No matter how many times I fell over, stopped to catch my breath, steady the unbearable churning in my stomach and attempt to swallow the hot acid sitting at the back of my throat, I was determined to get to the finish line alive and live to brag about it.
This is a story I enjoy sharing with my clients when I broach the topic of retirement planning and retirement strategy.
Whatever we’re doing right now, time isn’t going to stop and wait for us. It keeps moving ahead, waiting for nothing and no one. All the obstacles and challenges, all the distractions in life make tempting reasons to blissfully ignore the fact that we are all going to approach this one common goal that lies ahead of us: retirement.
What we choose to do right now, today, this month, this year, is inevitably going to impact how well we’re going to live in our retirement years.
We could choose to wait, for we might feel there are more important, up and coming challenges to address.
Challenges and obstacles we can see immediately ahead of us can be incredibly distracting.
A sprinter would think of giving his all for those ten precious seconds, while a marathon runner would decisively pace himself throughout the entire course, ensuring to preserve enough energy to complete the race well and alive, while exerting just enough to meet and conquer all the hurdles and obstructions and impediments that will come his way.
A marathon runner inherently knows and is always consciously aware that his progress will be impeded one way or another.
If he should exert too much energy at the beginning of the marathon in order to get ahead of some of his peers, he risks running out of strength to keep up his pace to complete the marathon.
By ignoring the importance of pacing himself throughout the run, and failing to effectively execute his pacing strategy, he knows that the likelihood of him ever completing the marathon would be much less than if he had a strategy and stuck with it until the end.
Our retirement is the end goal we should begin planning a strategy for as soon as we receive that very first paycheck. That paycheck acts as the whistle that slices through the deafening silence at the beginning of any marathon, telling you it’s time you give your very best shot.
What is your retirement strategy like and how are you with executing it?