Do you remember playing baseball while you were growing up? One of the best feelings in the world was finding your groove with your swing and hitting the ball with the bat's sweet spot.
The ball seemed to jump off the bat with little effort!
If you're a golfer you know that feeling too. Getting the right rhythm, speed and timing that all comes together at once and you feel it – the ball launches off the club and you feel invincible!
Ok, maybe not invincible – but you feel pretty good about yourself!
A sweet spot is a great thing and offers good feelings.
A sweet spot is defined as a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution.
So what combination of factors would suggest a suitable retirement solution? Let's take a look:
Being debt free in retirement is ideal for obvious reasons, so I won't belabor the point. You know why you want and need to be debt free.
Don't wait for retirement to become debt free, pay off credit card debt or get rid of your mortgage – shoot for that goal now and you'll be so much better off in the future.
I really believe it is vital (especially in today's shaky economy) to supplement your income. Whether you can turn your hobby into a side business, make money blogging or something else – it's important to have some additional sources of revenue.
This is a very important one as well. Assuming you have retirement savings, you should be diversifying yourself from a tax perspective, which simply means you have money in pre-tax, taxable and tax-free positions.
It may look like this: 401k/IRA; Regular Non-Qualified Brokerage Account; and a Roth IRA.
The reason you want to diversify is because there are tax advantages and constraints as well as access advantages and constraints to each one of these.
People, Passion and Purpose
People, passion and purpose – what does that mean?
I believe these things are the most important in life.
No one who has ever been on their death bed has said, “I wish I had more retirement savings, or worked more hours at the office.”
What they typically say is something like this:
“I wish I would've spent more time with my kids when they were growing up.”
Or, “I always wanted to help adults learn how to read and I never did that!”
People often regret not pursing people, passion and purpose.
We were made to be relational beings. People thrive when they have good solid relationships.
Why do you think “solitary confinement” is a torture method. Because anyone will go crazy if they are alone and not relating to others.
Pursing people means investing into relationships and helping others. Remember the good feelings you have after a great talk with a close friend or when you help someone in need?
Retirement should be all about that. You've got time on your side for relationships!
What are your strengths? Are you really good at something? That typically is what people become passionate about. Pursue your passions in retirement.
Do you love to write? Teach? Cook? Sing? Help others learn to read?
Uncover your passion and start pursuing them – and then use your passion for people! Teach them, encourage them, help them.
You'll come alive!!
You were created for a reason. God has a plan for you.
To borrow the words from John Piper, pastor in Minneapolis, if you're a Christian our purpose is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever!
Where did we get so off track that we think life is all about building our own little kingdom while shutting everyone else out?
If I were to sum up the purpose that God has for us it is to love Him and love others as ourselves. All the commandments are summed up in these two things.
If you're not a Christian, the best way to sum this up is to say, “when you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on others – you'll experience a deeper joy.”
I hope this post will restore some of that focus you may have lost on what's most important in life.
What else would you add to the Retirement Sweet Spot list?
Readers, what other factors would create a suitable condition – or a sweet spot – in retirement?