John Grobe

It’s New Year Resolutions time and we will have a better chance of reaching our goals if we automate them, or make them automatic. If you can afford it, here are two ways to make that easier on yourself: We can increase the bi-weekly payroll deduction for Thrift Savings Plan contributions; and, We can set up direct debit from our checking account in order to fund an Individual Retirement Arrangement.

Consider the following:

If you save $287 a month for 40 years at an 8% annual return, then you’ll have more than $1 million dollars.
– Kiplinger’s Money Smart Living.

If you set aside $50 every two weeks at a 7% annual return, then you’ll have over $250,000 in 40 years.
– Financial Engines.

If you save £137 a month at a 2% annual return, then you’ll have over £100,000 in 40 years.
– The Telegraph.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;…

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
– This from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
– This from an old Scottish proverb.

The one constant word in the above paragraphs is “if”. “If” is a conjunction and two common definitions are “…in the event that…” and “…on the assumption that…”. Basically, it is a conditional word. It is often used along with the word “then”, as in “If it rains today, then we won’t need to water the grass.” “If” does not assume that an action will be taken; it simply supposes what will happen when an action is taken. It has no resolution or promise associated with it.

As we are close to the first of the year, when many people make resolutions to guide their actions over the upcoming year, it is appropriate to look at financial goals. How will we turn the hopeful “if” into a resolute “then”? Can you really set aside $287 a month for 40 years? It is easy to say and hard to do. Well, “if” we want a comfortable retirement, “then” we will commit to steps that will bring us close to that goal.

If not now; then when? It’s up to you.