Losing Your Retirement Savings

Newspapers and other media are full of the bad news: professional managers of the retirement savings of many people, usually ‘parked’ in their superannuation funds, have lost billions of dollars via their investment strategies.

Of course, these professionals ‘blame’ the markets. It’s nothing to do with them!

There are two ideas to consider.

Firstly, is it wise for you to contemplate retirement in any event?

And secondly, would it be wiser for you to learn how to invest so you can take control, rather than leaving it to professionals because you have chosen not to learn?

On the first point, I believe that retirement is an unnatural act. My definition of retirement is that point of life when you cease to make a meaningful contribution. It is nothing to do with earning, or not earning, money.

Nothing in nature ‘retires’: birds don’t, plants and trees don’t, lions and tigers don’t. The essence of nature is being in the game of life.

Retirement is trying to get out of the game of life, but have the benefits.

‘Meaningful’ is different for every person. When you make a meaningful contribution, your experience of life is enhanced. You will be healthier, more energetic, and more interesting to those around you.

I hope never to ‘retire’.

Do your own thinking: are you trapped by the majority view that the purpose of life is to work, to save money, to retire, and then really start living?

On the second point, the world is changing so rapidly that each of us has to become a lifelong learner, otherwise we have to hand control of important issues to others. If you choose not to learn about investing, you are taking a big risk: the risk of relying on professionals in financial services areas. I have seen too many examples of how hard it is to pick a reliable professional.

Think about the value to you of learning to manage your own retirement savings!