Have you ever run a half marathon? I am in the process of training for the Cap City Half Marathon in the spring and it is quite an endeavor. What is most amazing to me is how your body and habits adapt to the change. Six months ago, I could barely run a mile and now I am running four miles (at least) a few times each week. Adding the exercise habit to my routine keeps me focused on what I am eating and gives me more energy throughout the day. This spills over to my work, family and community engagement, allowing me to be my best.
As an investment advisor, I know the same is true when it comes to saving and investing. It is the small steps that we take now that make a big difference down the road. I remember being surprised several years ago about the true power of compounding. Saving just $250 per month and getting into that habit for 40 years at a 9% rate of return yields over $1,000,000. Think about that. That is an easy automatic habit that many of us could establish with a 401k or other investment account.
Throughout my years as an investment advisor, I can usually tell right away who will be successful with their long-term goals and who will fall short. The secret comes down to these small habits. If a new client comes on board and fails to establish periodic/automatic savings, they are setting themselves up to fail. These clients tend to call with “emergency” expenses that deplete their investment accounts and eventually lead to an underfunded retirement or other long-term goal.
Maybe you don’t have 40 years or maybe you do not think you can earn 9%. That is not the point here. I have attached a spreadsheet to run some rough numbers for your situation based on where you are starting and what you can save on a monthly basis. The point is getting into good habits on a monthly basis to ensure a sound financial future for you and your family. It is the baby steps and establishing these good habits that lead us to our worthwhile goals.
Matthew Freiburger, our guest blogger, is a Portfolio Manager at Steele Investment Counsel, Ltd. As a Portfolio Manager, Matthew works with busy professionals to own their time, own their finances and own their future. He is a leading authority on building wealth and portfolio management. He can be reached at 614-793-8890 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.