Halloween offers some valuable lessons for your retirement planning. Just as most children await Halloween with glee, many working adults have the same excitement about their retirement day. In order for the reality to live up the hype, here are three lessons that may help guide you.
Lesson #1: Have a plan. On Halloween, every child should go over a game-plan with their parents -- from the costume and what route to take, to what candy to accept and how to stay safe. When I was in middle school, a friend and I designed a plan to maximize our candy accumulation through using rollerblades. We did very well that Halloween. The same is true for retirement. Develop a plan to get you where you want to go -- find your retirement rollerblades. This may include calculating how much you should be socking away each month into your retirement accounts as well as creating an appropriate asset allocation that matches your time horizon and risk tolerance.
A plan can make the difference between retiring with confidence at age 65, or tacking on additional years behind a desk. Just like parents who guide children about their game-plan for Halloween night, financial advisors can guide you to and through retirement.
Lesson #2: Pace yourself. Just as eating the "loot" from the pillowcase while trick-or-treating can quickly deplete your child's Halloween stash, spending your money frivolously before retirement will leave you feeling in retirement like you've crashed after a sugar rush.
Maintaining a long term perspective is paramount, just like how children are told by their parents to "withdraw" from their candy stash over weeks, not hours, to make it last longer.
With restraint, whether you are a child on Halloween or an adult faced with the temptation of the hottest new mobile device, you can make your savings grow and last even beyond your retirement. You don't want a stomachache on Halloween night or in your retirement.
Lesson #3: Stick together. Trick-or-treaters need to stay on the same page, remaining with parents or friends to stay safe and visiting only agreed-upon houses. With retirement, it's even more important to communicate with your family about your expectations, dreams and fears and find a financial advisor to be by your side to help make a more successful retirement possible.
ING U.S.'s 2013 Retirement Income Redefined survey found that 77 percent of respondents who worked with a financial advisor believe that it's unlikely that they will run out of retirement savings compared to half of than those who don't work with a financial advisor.
As Halloween approaches, let the holiday remind you to apply these three lessons to making both Halloween night and retirement a success.
ING Retirement Coach Jacob Gold is a third generation financial advisor. He is a published author of "Financial Intelligence; Getting Back to Basics after an Economic Meltdown", which was published in August 2009. Gold is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and FINRA Series 7, 24 and 66 securities registered.
Securities and Investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Member SIPC. Neither ING Financial Partners nor its representatives offer tax advice.