Don’t Allow Work to Consume Your Life

There was a time when our economy was driven by manufacturing. In fact, in the town where I grew up, my father and most of my family worked in paper mills. While my father worked very hard and his hours shifted from week to week, when his work was done, it was done. He was able to devote his free time to family and interests by not taking his work home with him.

Today’s workplace is completely different. We are now a service economy in the information age. Much of our manufacturing has shifted overseas where labor costs are lower. Consequently, our work life today is much more knowledge-based and open-ended. While this makes for a more exciting work environment, it does have its downside. We take our work home with us, and, if we’re not careful, it can easily consume our free time.

This is an especially common issue when people are in the early to middle stages of their careers. Unfortunately, it often coincides with when we get married and start a family. Right when we’re needed most as spouse and parent, we allow our careers to take precedence. This conflict is one of the main reasons for the breakdown of marriages today, and the results can be devastating to families.

Don’t get me wrong. Your career will be a key component of your life. However, more than any other aspect of your life, it has the greatest risk of taking over if you’re not careful. This is one of the biggest regrets expressed by those in their later years of life.  Don’t make it your regret. Always remember to stay balanced and invested in ALL areas of your life!

What are some ways you’ve learned to balance work and life? If you had to share your insights with a young person in your life, what would be the most important points you would highlight? Let us know some of ideas by commenting below; we’d love to hear from you!

Plan for Retirement NOW: Invest Early and Regularly

In order to achieve your long-term goals and maintain your lifestyle in retirement, you’ll need to build financial wealth. That’s kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it?
You certainly don’t want to depend on Social Security as your primary source of money in retirement. Unfortunately, too many people do, and they lament how little they have to live on in their sunset years. Many outlive their retirement assets and are unable to find a way out. Last time I checked, there weren’t too many job opportunities for 75-year olds!
To avoid this situation, you’ll need to develop an investment program that will provide sufficient assets for your retirement. Much of this will come from your employers’ retirement plans (e.g. 401K) while the balance is from your own investing during your career years.
In the end, your long-term wealth will be a function of the following:
1. How much you invest
2. The rate of return on your investments
3. The time period over which you are investing
In each case, the larger the amount, the greater the assets you’ll build.
Your chances of accumulating significant wealth will be greater if you invest as much as you can (rather than overspending), as early in your career as you can. This will allow your returns to compound over a longer period of time.
How early in your life you begin investing has a more significant impact on your wealth than you can possibly imagine. This is because of the power of compounding your returns over many years. For example, if Kyle invests $2,000 per year at a 7% return from age 18 to 27 and lets it grow at that rate until he is 65 years old, he will have a much larger nest egg than Ashley who waits until 31 to start investing and puts $2,000 in each year until age 65! This is true even though Kyle only invested $20,000 versus Ashley’s $70,000!

Beginning your investment program as soon as you start your career should be a top priority. Save and invest early, regularly, and as much as you can in a diversified, long-term investment program. It will provide you with the best chances of building significant wealth for your retirement, achieving financial freedom, and giving generously to charitable causes.

How have you made saving and investment a regular part of your retirement strategy?

Share your ideas (or even your questions) with our online community by commenting below…

Choose Humility over Self-Pride

“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Each February we honor the lives of two amazing leaders, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Although each is worthy of our praise, the close proximity of their birthdays has led to commemorating their lives on one day, President’s Day. Although neither man was perfect, they’re both among the greatest presidential role models of all time, courageously leading our nation through incredible struggles.
During my long investment career, one of my role models was friend and colleague Ernie Ankrim, a brilliant financial thinker who served as our chief market strategist. However, as capable as he was in interpreting the markets, Ernie was equally gifted in public speaking and relating with others.
Everyone admired how Ernie shared his insights with humor and wit. He was the total package and audiences could never get enough of him. Yet, despite all of his accolades, Ernie is the one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. If anyone had bragging rights it was Ernie, yet he was always the first to give others the credit.
Ernie’s humility has had an enormous impact on my life and my behavior. Whenever I’ve been acknowledged for an accomplishment, I often think, “How would Ernie respond?” My answer is always the same. First and foremost, I owe my success to others.
Abe Lincoln had a similar philosophy. He famously said, “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
As you travel along your life journey, you’ll have many proud achievements along the way. And you know what?  They’ll speak for themselves. You won’t have to toot your own horn to get people to recognize you.
When successes come your way, be grateful to those who helped make it happen. Your acknowledgement of others first, before you give yourself a pat on the back, will be greatly admired and an inspiration to others. 
When you do something great, is your first instinct to give yourself the credit or others who have helped make you the person you are today? Who comes to mind as someone you would like to thank or give credit? Share your thoughts with our online community by commenting below.

Be on Role Model Behavior around Kids

One of the funny things in life is that kids like to play “grown up” while grown ups wish they could be kids again!
Kids are highly impressionable creatures. They mimic their heroes through the clothes they wear, the way they talk, the music they listen to, and the hairstyles they choose. I vividly remember how the Beatles impacted the fashion and hairstyles during the Sixties. By today’s standards it seems pretty tame, but back then our parents didn’t seem to think so! After all, it didn’t stay “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” for very long.
If kids are impressionable and prone to imitate, we who are older (and presumably wiser) ought to be on our best behavior when they’re around. After all, they look up to us! Kids will automatically assume that what’s good enough for us is good enough for them. And, why shouldn’t they?
Unfortunately, many of today’s younger and less mature professional athletes and entertainment stars fail to appreciate or even accept this role. Sadly, you can see it reflected in the crude behavior of their fans and followers…whether at the games or the mall.
You have the power to positively influence younger people through your behavior and mentoring. There’s no substitute for positively impacting a kid. Seize those opportunities, but remember: they’re watching you like a hawk!
Do you make it a point to be on role model behavior when kids are around? In what ways? Share your experiences and ideas with our online community!