“Ain’t Trading My Dreams for No 401k”

I ain’t trading my youth for no suit and jacket
I ain’t giving my freedom for your money and status
So don’t say I’m getting older
‘Cause I’ll say it when I do

As I was driving to work the other day I was listening to a song by Judah, The Lion called “Suit & Jacket.”  The message, as I interpret it, is about holding onto your youth and not letting the pressures or expectations of age rush you into a phase of life you are not yet ready for.  I especially like this one line “And I ain’t trading my dreams for no 401k.”  As I was hearing this line again the other day, I started to think about where we get our advice from.  I can hope no one is stopping their contributions for their retirement based on the catchy lyrics of a song, but we all make decisions with the guiding force of someone or something.

I often hear clients say things such as “Well, I was talking to my parents last night, and they think it is a bad idea.”  Another one, “Well, my parents saved every nickel they had and took every ketchup packet not glued down when we went out for a special dinner.”  These financial guiding forces, both the bad and the good, are instilled in our habits from an early age.  Later in life, we find ourselves going back to the same well for the answers because it is familiar and trusted.  Here in lies one of the big dilemmas with all good financial advice (we can talk about the bad advice another time).  Good financial advice doesn’t change, but you and your situation, feelings, priorities, goals and ambitions do.  Pay yourself first,  live within your means,  put a 20% down payment when you buy a home…Knowing when the good advice doesn’t apply to you anymore is very difficult to know on your own and it is even harder for the people whose opinions you trust to know.

You are always going to be better off financially not spending that extra $500 to go paragliding when on vacation, but is that the right advice to be following at that time in your life?  You are always going to be better off drawing only 4% from your retirement accounts each year while retired.  However, is that rule going to be accurate and appropriate, every year for the 30 to 40 years you are retired?  The answer is “very unlikely.”   In today’s world, there is no shortage of places to find good financial advice.  Books, podcasts, blogs, YouTube, your parents (and children for that matter) 🙂 .  Hopefully from today’s post you now know that once you find it, knowing when to use it or when to forget it, is not as easy.

Happy Friday!