It is hard to believe another year has come and gone, and we are on the cusp of yet another New Year. I look back on 2011 and am amazed at all that I have done and all that my family has accomplished. I am reminded that time moves very quickly and that it is wise to pack each and every day full to the brim.
With the passing of each year, I am increasingly aware that my personal time horizon gets shorter. With age one becomes much more aware of the phrase “life is short.” It may be short, and you may only get one chance at bat, but you can definitely make the most of the time you have.
As I look forward to 2012, I am making my resolutions. But the focus this year is not on losing extra pounds or eating more salad. (Yes, I need to do both!) Instead, I am looking much further out – 10 to 15 years out into the future. I am imagining how different my family may be over the next decade or two. My girls will have graduated from college and may well be married. I may be a grandmother. I can definitely count on more wrinkles and gray hair! So, what do I want to be able to do at that future time? While I don’t know any details at this point, I do already know that I want to have more flexibility to hang out with my family and help my girls as they juggle careers and family. I want to travel more and scale back on working. I want to spend more time helping others, perhaps through teaching. If I think that’s the direction I want to go, I know it will come with a price tag. And, that price is preparing well for retirement.
So, for 2012, I’m getting more serious about planning for my life in retirement. My resolutions are short, direct and achievable over time. But, they start now:
- Put as much away as possible into my IRAs and increase the amount going into my husband’s 401(k) – that will keep us on track to have a decent income once we reach retirement.
- Pay off all credit card debt to start the year off with a clean slate – this will allow us to redirect cash flow toward future building.
- Establish an official ‘travel fund’ and pay into it each month – I don’t want to wait to retire before I travel, so start now and establish a new, good habit.
Keeping a clear focus on the future is one way to create a better discipline for today. I am looking forward to 2012, understanding that I am another year closer to retirement. I will kick off 2012 with my 3 simple resolutions for retirement, and then I’ll think about more time at the gym!
Happy New Year!