For those of us who think of the money side of retirement often, it's easy to forget about the fact that the day we decide to retire is just another day in our lives. It's not the start, but it's not the end either. There's a whole lot of mileage left in our journey, even after we decide to forever pack up our suits and formal dresses for good.
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Reaching a number in your retirement account is not the end goal. That number is merely a checkpoint in our journey that allows us to change how we spend our days. Here are a few things you will regret doing later if your motivation is just to get a higher 401(k) balance.
Neglect your friends and family. Sadly, this is quite common. Whether it's the pressure from the corporate ladder or just personal greed, friendships seem to grow farther and farther apart as we age. Countless studies have shown that people are happier with the right support group. Isn't happiness the real goal we should be striving for? You don’t want to retire with a bunch of money, but all alone.
Fail to develop a passion. Are you one of those people who works so many hours every day that you think taking a coffee break is a vacation? Perhaps when you take a vacation you don't know what to do all day. Now multiply that feeling by 24 and then 7. That's retirement. Develop a passion and your retirement life will be fulfilling. If you don't have a plan for how to spend your time in retirement, you might as well just keep working.
Ignore present pleasures. Money is not just for hoarding, but for spending too. Having a multimillion dollar bank account balance is awesome, but most people would agree that it's not worth it if you have to eat plain white noodles everyday for the rest of your life to accumulate that amount of money. The future is important, but the present is equally significant.
Forget that retirement is just a checkpoint. Retirement is not the end. Just like college graduation, the last day of your career is just a change in your daily schedule. Having a high net worth is nice, but a fulfilling retirement is nicer.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.