It seems like everyone is in the prediction business this week. We’re trying to predict which states will vote one way. We’re trying to predict which way the Supreme Court will vote. I’m trying to predict when the Patriots will have a competitive quarterback again. (Wait, that was supposed to be in my inner monologue. The rest of the country probably had enough of Patriots quarterbacks for a number of years.)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of those predictions for a little while. Why not take a break from them? What if instead you focused on your personal finance journey and tried to predict what retirement would look like?
I know I’m a strange bird. It takes a “unique personality” to blog about personal finances for 14 years. I continue to update my passive income and net worth statements. It’s a little outdated, but generally our next 45 years of expenses looks steady.
Most people aren’t strange like me. Has it been a while since you calculated your net worth? When was the last time you thought about what your expenses will be when you retire? Regular readers are likely to do these things more often. I wonder how often the Average Joe or Average Jane looks at this financial stuff. For example, I’m always slipping when it comes to getting my car checked. I had been very bad about seeing dentists (but I’m better now). I have to think that money check-ups are the same for some people.
When I started this blog, I could have made some predictions of what retirement would look like. I would have been wildly wrong. I had never left the Boston suburbs before, but we moved out to California for 6 years. We came back to New England and live in the “drive-through” state of Rhode Island. I may have been able to predict the two kids. I wouldn’t have thought that they’d go to private school, because the discount was just barely good enough, but it’s still extremely expensive.
Life has a way of slowly moving you a different direction than you planned. So if you last looked at your financial plan a few years ago, it is a good time to look again and see if adjustments need to be made. For example, we found that with COVID, not being able to spend on travel has helped our bank accounts. (It’s hard to admit that knowing how negative COVID has been for the country overall.)
I like to think of long-term financial planning (for retirement or even college expenses) as being like a hole of golf. You have to take a big shot with your driver to get as close as you can. Then you focus your attention more and more until you are making a manageable putt.
This might be a good time to see if you are using the correct golf club.
It’s hard to predict the future. Who knows where life will lead?
Our annual expense is quite low right now, but it will increase soon.
Once our son is a teenager, we’ll take over both units of our duplex. We’ll need more space then. That will reduce our income and increase our expenses. Once he’s old enough to go to college, I’m not sure what we’ll do. I want to travel a lot more, but Mrs. RB40 wants to move near her parents. We’ll come up with a compromise somehow. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy 4-5 more years of good cash flow.
Matt @ OMB says
Humans have been bad at estimating; maybe some of us are better than others, but in general, we either underestimate or overestimate. You need this estimation when it comes to planning. I couldn’t have told you with any certainty where I would end up 15 years ago. I might have had an idea, but the reality has been very, very different.