September 22

Coffee With Mike- What’s Your Number?

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We all know that advertising seeks to shock you a little bit, you know, prod you a little bit, and there's nothing that will prod you like a cattle prod type of advertising. There is this advertising for financial planning that says, "what's your number?" Because when everyone talks about a number, no matter what number they say, you're thinking about a number and you're trying to ask, "Do I have the right number? Do I have the right amount? Am I on track in my... and it gives you all this kind of torn up feeling of what have we really accomplished, and are we going to be able to do what we want to do? You have all this doubt all of a sudden, and that's what advertising supposed to do is get you to take action, go call somebody, and make sure you have the right number. 

So, I'm just asking you to think about, is that number really the important thing? I think the number is always a moving target. I think the important thing is, who are you? What do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish it? What time frame do you want to accomplish it? How much does it cost to accomplish it? How much does it cost to keep enjoying it? Then, who do you want to do these things with? What do you want to do if you have a spouse, you have children, grandchildren? Do you have friends that you want to travel with? All these things make a difference as to, "what's the number?"

If they get fixated on the number, I think one thing that's going to happen is you're always going to be uncomfortable spending your money. I've noticed that when we talk to people about how much their balance is, they have a reaction to a balance going down, and they feel like they're actually losing something, when in reality, a balance going down is just an offer to buy your shares, and that offer is changing. They're just reducing their offer. You don't have to take their offer. It doesn't mean anything at that particular moment. 

So the question I'm really thinking about for you is, if you're fixating on a number, are you able to get past it? Are you able let go of it? Because I think the same people who go into a little bit of a hyperventilation when their balance goes down because of the stock market movement, are the same people who have trouble spending their money when they retired, because now they realize, "I'm not earning income. I'm not putting in contributions. I don't have an employer match, and now I'm spending the money too." And now it's going down, and down, and down and they get scared, and they stop spending money, stop enjoying a lot.

"So, let's not get fixated on a number. Instead, let's think about the bigger picture of what you want to do with that number."

So, let's not get fixated on a number. Instead, let's think about the bigger picture of what you want to do with that number. Why you need certain things at certain times, and how we can use the time that we have to create a series of numbers so that we don't need everything right now at the front end, and maybe we can use our time in retirement to build our to build our assets in the same way that we built them when we were working. So let's get past the number, and let's start thinking your bigger picture.

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