Tactics to Pull Off Harry’s 4th Rule
Updated: Feb 12
I have to admit that I like how I feel after adopting the Younger Next Year lifestyle since January 1st. Who wouldn’t want to feel stronger, have more stamina, have a clearer head, sleep sounder, and have better fitting clothes?
But recommendations in the first half of this book include spending a bit of moola to get this adventure rocking and rolling properly… like buying a gym membership, consider planning a spa week or holiday to reset, and maybe join some clubs.
Relieving stress is a big part of your well being, so this makes complete sense.
But a gym membership is a bit more than I want to spend, not to mention inconvenient for a busy person. As you already know from reading, My Possessed Exercise Bike, I have already invested quite a bit of moola on equipment… which by the way, is fixed and still kicking my butt because it’s so hard to pedal.
BUT how are we supposed to budget in all of these extras for our healthy, new lifestyle when Harry’s 4th Rule is to Spend Less Than You Make?
Take into account that as we near the top of that dreaded HILL, most of us are still trying to carve out a living. So spending less than what you make takes on a whole new thought process.
Setback after setback has taught me that it’s a steep hill once you crown the peak, and you never know how much you will have to spend once you start slipping down that slope. Lucky for me, I didn’t lose my job over the recovery times from surgeries lately, but I know for a fact that others would not have been so lucky.
I guess that’s the slippery slope Harry and Chris are warning us about... so we need to start doing something about it now.
For me, retirement always seemed an impossible dream. Planning to work until I died, I’m now wondering what the hell I am going to do if I can’t work anymore. And nothing makes you think of that more than becoming an invalid for a year.
Planning for the unknown… the inevitable… the end… becomes one of the scariest thoughts ever, but I now see it has to be done.
So let's talk tactics so we can pull this off!
I figure it will be pretty important for all of us to keep healthy and quit breaking body parts. That puts us back to the dreaded exercising and lifting weights for the rest of our lives. We will all have to do our best at this if we are going to keep out of hospitals!
Next is thinking about all the stuff we spend money on. The need to cut back, and save money is more important now than ever.
Did you know that American’s waste 30-40 percent of the nation’s food supply? It’s true, and I can see how when I think of all the food we have wasted through the years.
What a waste of money to have excess food staples sitting in the cupboard just in case. I think, what if I decide to make this or that… or what if the kids come by… or what if…
Does this sound familiar?
Well it seems to me that ‘What if’ rarely happens, and if it does, I’ll plan to run to the store quick and buy FRESH. There’s nothing worse than an old, nasty cake mix anyway. Yuck! Get rid of the stuff and don’t replace it unless you need to.
Americans are probably the biggest wasters on the planet. Why do we need all of this STUFF? When I think about the money I’ve spent on STUFF, it makes my stomach turn. How much money would I have saved by now if I hadn’t wasted so much?
This list of American’s Top Wasted items from the Motley Fool in 2017 may help us all find areas in which to reduce spending.
Top wastes of money Americans are willing to reduce
1. Eating out = 68.89%
2. Alcohol or drinking = 25.42%
3. Credit card interest = 19.34%
4. Clothes = 13.85%
5. Electricity = 11.92%
6. Cigarettes = 11.57%
7. Heating or air conditioning = 10.58%
8. Unreturned items = 9.25%
9. Convenience packaging = 7.07%
10. Lottery or gambling = 6.82%
Top money wasters Americans don’t want to give up
1. Uneaten or expired food = 32% waste
2. Grocery Items = 25.7%
3. Hobbies & Activities = 23.44%
4. Entertainment = 23.10%
5. Streaming Services = 18.55%
6. Cable or digital TV = 17.71%
7. Cell phone bills = 17.26%
8. Tech Gadgets = 15.38%
9. Car costs or gas = 15.23%
10. Bottled water = 11.33%
If you’re not prepared for your future, you are not alone… but we need to start thinking about this now.
So where are you going to be when you are 50 years old… 60… 70… or even 80?
1. Have you thought about whether or not you will be able to afford your current living arrangements in the years ahead?
2. Will you still be working? What if you need to work but you can’t?
3. Will you need to drive, or can you take some sort of public transit to go to work, the doctor, or get your groceries?
4. Maybe you own your own house. Will you be able to afford to keep it? Or will you be better off cashing out and finding something more affordable?
5. Do you have life insurance? What about long-term care insurance? Will you be able to keep paying on those after retirement?
6. What about a retirement fund? How far will that take you over the hill?
These are all scary thoughts… the what if’s of the golden years, so let’s take a look at what is recommended for retirement savings.
If you are in your 20s, it is recommended that you save 10%-15% of your income for retirement.
If you are in your 40s, you will need at least 2.6 times your salary tucked away for retirement.
What if you are in your 50s or later? It is recommended that you have 6-8 times your annual salary saved already.
BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING SAVED?
A 2015 analysis by the federal government reports the average American age 50-65 had $104,000.00 saved for retirement… Not nearly as much as recommended, and I know a lot of people that don’t even have that much!
But instead of saying, “Screw it! I’ll spend what I have and not worry about it!” You can try budgeting your money now in order to get the most into your savings for later.
Here are some suggestions from Synchrony Bank to help you catch up on retirement savings:
1. If you have a 401K or similar retirement plan, try to max out the yearly deposit by increasing your monthly contributions.
2. Budget your money with Retirement Savings at the top of your list.
3. Delay your retirement by working longer.
4. Save any extra money like gifts, bonuses, or tax returns rather than spending it.
5. Don’t forget about social security. You can max the benefits by waiting to draw it out.
6. Try to pay off any debt before retirement.
I guess we could think about saving for retirement as leaning out our lives. In other words, “How many items can you take off your ‘needs’ list because you don’t really ‘need’ them as much as you thought?”
After you figure out ways to save, you need to find ways to help your savings grow… like talking to a financial advisor. Many banks provide this as a free service, so it is worth it, no matter what your age, that you go and speak with an expert.
The impending Golden Years is something we all need to be prepared for, and it comes quicker than you think.
Even if you haven’t done much saving yet, remember that every little bit counts!
So what are some things you are doing to prepare for your “Golden Years?”
Let’s get to it!
Thanks so much for reading!
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Bieber, Christy, September 2017, Top money wasters Americans don’t want to give up, https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/09/01/the-20-biggest-ways-americans-waste-money.aspx
CNN, 2018, Ultimate Guide to Retirement, https://money.cnn.com/retirement/guide/basics_basics.moneymag/index7.htm
The Synchrony Staff, August 1, 2019, What’s the average retirement savings by age 55, https://www.synchronybank.com/blog/average-retirement-savings-by-age-55/
US Food and Drug Administration, October 2019, Food Waste and Loss, https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/food-waste-and-loss