How much is enough? It’s a question many of us deal with every day. And yet, the answer often escapes us. It doesn’t matter what area of life we’re applying “enough” to-the exact answer is often “I don’t know”. Well, when it comes to money the “I don’t know” part is often the only answer people can give. That’s because it can be so hard to nail down how much money people will need, or want, as they move through life. Situations change, people change, the world around us changes…..The number of variables are staggering. Here’s just a few:
Much of my time as a financial planner is dedicated to helping people answer the “Enough” question when it comes to their money and their life. No one has a crystal ball to see into the future so to determine the “enough” and to stay on track towards it takes a lot of work over a long period of time.
Let’s take a quick look at an example of the variability in what many people want to know- “How much is “enough” for retirement?”
FINRA Retirement Calculator gives us the numbers below
Retire at 65
Live to 95 or 105 (30 or 40 year retirement)
25% tax rate 401k or IRA for savings
Amounts are in today’s dollars
5% return: ~$483,000
8% return: ~$175,000
5% return: ~$967,000
8% return: ~$351,000
5% return: ~$1,451,000
8% return: ~$527,000
40 year retirement
5% return: ~$1,451,000
8% return: ~$527,000
5% return: ~$1,184,000
8% return: ~$393,000
5% return: ~$1,776,000
8% return: ~$590,000
Fortunately, there is something you can do to help you and/or your financial planner answer the “how much is enough” question and that is to get in the habit of setting your own unique goals and priorities and tracking your progress over time. Depending on your particular situation, goals, needs and wants the amount of money that equals “enough” can vary widely. There are no right or wrong amounts but there are practical and impractical possibilities for everyone.
So, take some time to really think about what “Enough” means for you and your family. Then, get a realistic assessment of where you are now and put together a picture of what it might take to get you to your enough. If you find that there is a big gap between where you are now and where you want to be then you will need to make some adjustments to one/many of the variables that come into play. There are many tools and resources available to help you in this process. If you would like some help from a financial planner like myself feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I love to eat. And, I love to eat tasty, well cooked food, as I’m sure many of you do. The problem is that if you don’t think you have time or don’t enjoy preparing your own food you will have to pay for someone else to create your tasty meals. That’s one of the main reasons there are so many restaurants out there. People just don’t feel that they have the time, energy, knowledge, skills or motivation to prepare their own food. And while there’s nothing wrong with restaurants, it can get awfully expensive to eat at them every day.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to break the restaurant only cycle, and that’s by cooking at home! I know that concept sounds foreign to many of you but it’s not that difficult and with a few simple tools, a little planning, and some time you can prepare high end restaurant quality food in almost any kitchen.
I’ve been an enthusiastic home cook since college and have really enjoyed preparing good food at home.
The Joy Of Cooking: My Mom gave me this book when I moved into an apartment during college and I used it for years as a reference/guidebook. The latest edition of the book (from 2006) is still highly recommended.
There are now so many books on cooking it would be hard to give a list so the easiest way is to just go to Amazon and find books that interest you:
I am most certainly not a chef but I think I put out some quality chow most of the time. One of my favorite things to tweak is Steak. I love a well cooked steak but the problem has been how best to affordably get a good result at home that is comparable (or better) than a quality steak restaurant.
I’ve recently discovered a couple of fun tools that have helped me make some of the best steaks evar! The first is a Himalayan Salt Block. It’s a two-inch thick block of salt that you can cook on. I heat the block to 500 degrees or so, drop some steak on the block and 10 minutes later we have a great steak! The block was only about $12 and is easily cleaned and reusable. We’ve had ours for a few months, have used it 15 times or so and it is still in great shape.
Another technique I was familiar with but never tried is Sous Vide (soo veed) cooking. Sous vide is basically cooking food in a warm water bath, sort of like a food hot tub. You put the food in a plastic bag, remove the air and place in the hot water to cook. The advantage is that the food stays moist/juicy and is never over-cooked. There are lots of sous vide cookers on the market, from cheap to very expensive. I’d recommend a more basic model that you can attach to a large pot. Ours was only $75 from Amazon and came with pretty much everything needed to start sous vide cooking. Here’s the one we got.
I was particularly intrigued with using sous vide to cook steak, and then use my salt block to put a last minute sear on the steaks. Well, we tried this last week and OMG were they delicious! I think I’ve found my home cooked steak nirvana. I really have no need to go to a fancy steak house and pay $40-$60 a steak any more. Sure there was some upfront cost but I’ll make that up in just a few meals. I buy my steaks at Costco in bulk, freeze the ones we don’t use, cook them in the sous vide and sear them on my salt block. I’ll get restaurant quality steak at a cost of about $8-$10 each instead of $40 or more.
Just something to consider. The bottom line is that by cooking at home, you are in control of the quality of the food and ingredients you serve your family, and you can save a lot of $$$ over going out to eat all the time.
That’s it for this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast. If you’d like to subscribe to receive each new episode as it’s released you can subscribe to the podcast on itunes, stitcher, or google play. Also, if you like what you hear and want to help the show get a wider audience I’d appreciate you leaving a positive review on itunes. That’s one of the best ways to spread the word.
If you would like to work with a financial planner to help you set and reach your financial goals while enjoying life along the way I would be honored to speak with you. Just send me an email and we can set a time to speak and see if my services might be a fit for your needs.
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