While doing some of my regular reading today in Canadian Business magazine I came across an article talking about the health of our retirement system here is Canada and I was quite alarmed by the numbers they laid out. Fewer than 30% of us make any annual contribution to the government retirement program RRSP. 7 out of 10 of us are putting nothing away each year for our golden years. Of those who are saving the average is a paltry $2780 per year or $231 per month. Compared to what we waste on non- essentials each month this is peanuts.
I found these numbers to be extremely frightening. Though I knew we were in dire straights seeing the actual numbers in black and white print in front of my face almost took my breath away. At what point did we develop the mindset of thinking someone else is responsible to take care of us when we get old? When did it become acceptable to procrastinate for our entire lives?
It has been well documented that only about 5% of the population as a whole will ever save enough money to retire comfortably and it is pretty obvious why. The state we find ourselves in has nothing to do with our annual income, nothing to do with our formal education. It has everything to do with our mental conditioning and state of mind.
I am reminded of Parkinson’s Law which was developed by English writer C. Northcote Parkinson many years ago and it explains why most people retire poor. This law says that, no matter how much money people earn, they tend to spend the entire amount and a little bit more. Their expenses rise in lockstep with their earnings. But somehow, they seem to need every single penny to maintain their current lifestyles. No matter how much they make, there never seems to be enough. It is a downward spiral caused by poor mental programing.
The only way to escape this spiral is to make a choice, make a decision to become successful and buck the social trend. I am amazed at how someone working minimum wage can never find money to put aside for retirement but can always scrape together money for beer, cigarettes or pizza. There seems to be a strong desire for us to keep up with the Jones and yet the Jones are ending up broke in the end so why try and be like them?
Want a better approach you can implement easily? If you do nothing else but take 50% of any raise you receive and save that each month I guarantee you will retire a millionaire. Albert Einstein said the most powerful force in the world is that of compound interest. Get it working for you and a million dollars is within your grasp. All you are doing is saving half of any “New Money”, nothing else is changing. We all get raises along the way, the question becomes is it raising you up or keeping you down?
The only thing standing between you and a comfortable retirement is yourself and your poor mental programming. Still want to be like the Jones? What is it going to cost you in the end? Your dignity? Your self respect? Perhaps your marriage? Finance worries is the single biggest cause of divorce in our society. Are you one of the 70% who is not saving anything? Perhaps it is time to change your thought patterns because remember. If you always do what you have always done the results you achieve will remain consistent. Change your thoughts, change your approach and you can buck the trend and be in the small percentile who can actually enjoy retirement.