Do you want to know the biggest threat to investors trying to reach a comfortable retirement? It's not economic downturns or rising interest rates. Nor is it student loans or rising medical costs. In fact, an investor often has total control over their biggest obstacle to reaching retirement.
That's because an investor's greatest enemy is always himself or herself.
To tell you the truth, I think this whole “Millennials” thing has pretty much become a way for websites to attract a bunch of extra clicks. We in the older generations love to complain about these spoiled kids and their loud music, and Millennials love reading articles about themselves. So what's a guy to do when the media stops focusing on his generation and starts giving all the attention to a younger one? Jump on the bandwagon, of course!
One of the big parts of our mission when we built Two West was to help people reach retirement on their own terms. We understand there are many different routes to retirement, and often, you have the best shot of reaching retirement when you're as in control of the journey as you want to be.
Trends are a funny thing. As someone who came of age in the 80s, I can very distinctly remember spandex, perms, the Pogo Ball, New Coke, acid wash jeans and, of course, mullets. I always think it's funny how different trends come and go, only to resurface again years later (thanks, hipsters). I can admit there are a lot of styles that seemed cool during those years that look pretty dorky today. I always get a good laugh when I dig up old yearbook pictures.
Hypothetically, if an investing book with 30 chapters were rightly ordered, the first 29 of those chapters could quite literally be on the importance of keeping fees low. I realize that message gets a little bit old and tiresome, which is why it’s important for us in the financial industry to keep finding creative and interesting ways to say the same thing: “KEEP YOUR FEES LOW!”
We often talk about retirement as being a journey. We even founded Two West with the notion that two people riding in the same direction have a better chance of reaching their destination than someone going it alone. What we’ve found over the years is just how important it is to be surrounded by people who will support you in getting to your retirement destination. This group of people includes your family, your friends, your financial advisors and other professionals. But did you know this group also includes your co-workers? In fact, the people you work with are some of the most important people when it comes to achieving the retirement goals you desire.
If it weren't for the whole “family responsibilities” thing, I think I'd love to go back to college to get one of those fancy terminal degrees. Aside from getting to relive some of those college glory days, I think “Dr. Rink” has a nice little ring to it. I'd like to be able to call myself a learned man and have the paperwork to prove it.
Call me corny, but Jack Johnson's “Better Together” always has a knack for getting stuck in my head whenever I catch even just a line or two of the hook. Recently I've found the song stuck in my head a little bit more often for a number of reasons. For one, I've been thinking about how many people in the social sector band together to make life easier for everyone. I've noticed a real sense of community between nonprofits and the people they serve. The same goes for many small colleges I've worked with for the past few years. Once you step on campus, you're instantly part of this awesome family of people all heading in the same direction.
You can get a lot of different perspectives on the “right” way to invest, depending on who you talk to. Some people seem to think making daily trades and speculating on where the market might go is the best way to make your millions overnight. Others would have you believe their flavor-of-the-month fund is a lock to beat the market over the next year. I've heard some interesting stories about car mechanics with great stock tips or dentists who had the financial world completely figured out. Some people even claim that blindfolded monkeys throwing darts at the stock pages could outperform the market (and some monkeys did!)
We’ve known for a while that trust is valuable in any business. After all, we founded Two West on the idea that people with a shared goal can accomplish a lot more than those going in different directions. However, trust can sometimes be difficult to come by in financial services; to be honest, I can understand why. After the meltdown in 2008 and stories about the questionable ethical practices of some of the people working in this field, it can be hard to see those in financial services working for anyone but themselves. On top of that, the field is filled with plenty of buzzwords, confusing acronyms and concepts that have been made much more complex than they need to be. In other words, trust is hard to come by because transparency is rare.