We know the stats; we hear about them regularly enough – people are not saving enough money for retirement. Most have become immune to these messages because they don’t know anyone personally who is retired and really that desperate; so, they assume this must mean that the pundits are exaggerating the severity of the problem. In fact, many of us know an elderly person who made very little income over their lifetime and seems to be quite content in old age. I can think of my own grandmother who had next-to-nothing all her life, which did not change when she was elderly. She seemed contented enough with very little.
Comparing these kinds of people to the average baby boomer, though, is not a fair comparison because of one major difference: those of previous generations did without most of their lives, so there was no learning curve on “doing without” once they stopped working. They just continued on with a lifestyle they had known their entire lives.
We know this is not the same for those retiring now. In fact, the reason that they have little saved is because they have not been ones to deny themselves much of what they wanted. They have spent rather excessively, which has led them to where they are now.
This is the real difference between those who have saved for retirement and those who haven’t. The first group learned that denying themselves in favor of saving throughout their lives not only provided the lump-sum that will be their nest egg in old age, but also taught them discipline.
Discipline is a word that is very much out of style at present, but it is the key to so many areas of life. Our world is full of sayings telling us of the value that discipline brings:
- BY CONSTANT DISCIPLINE YOU CAN DEVELOP GREATNESS OF CHARACTER.
- DISCIPLINE TURNS ABILITY INTO ACHIEVEMENT.
- IF WE DO NOT DISCIPLINE OURSELVES, THE WORLD WILL DO IT FOR US.
- SUCCESS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A FEW SIMPLE DISCIPLINES, PRACTICED EVERY DAY.
- SELF-RESPECT IS THE FRUIT OF DISCIPLINE.
- DISCIPLINE IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN GOALS AND ACCOMPLISHMENT.
- DISCIPLINE IS THE FOUNDATION OF A SUCCESSFUL AND A HAPPY LIFE.
- RULE YOUR MIND WITH DISCIPLINE OR THE MIND WILL RULE YOU.
The Bible also has a few things to say on the subject as well:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful – later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. – Galatians 6:7
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey– whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” – Romans 6:16
Many who are now entering their retirement years would say that life has not allowed them to save. They always intended to save but something pressing always came up.
In some cases that is true, but for the majority it is simply the reason they give themselves.
The first person we usually deceive is ourselves.
Decide today that you will put aside 10% of everything you earn for your future.
Sometimes it’s that simple.