10% To Your Future
March 29, 2010 9 Comments
In the personal finance world it is a “no-brainer” that we should be saving for the future. And some people say we should be saving 8% or 10% or 12% of our salary after taxes to our future retirement savings. While people may argue about how much exactly is the right amount to contribute or where the best place is to invest this money, no one doubts that they should be doing it.
And what I’ve been thinking a lot about since then is – why am I not giving 10% of my time to my future as well?
Now, 10% of a day is a long time. That’s 2.4 hours. We’ll round up and just call this two and a half hours a day. Or 17.5 hours per week. That is nearly a part time job that I should be devoting to my future.
And I cautiously wondered what sort of things I should be doing in this 10% of the day that should be dedicated to my future.
The first is obvious: Exercise
The best investment you can make in yourself is to make sure that you live to use your retirement funds. Your medical expenses will be less. You life will be better, you will look better, ect, ect. And exercise has the secondary benefit of not just helping you in the future (like a retirement fund would do), but also helps you look good NOW, feel good NOW – and do the same for you in the future. So definitely a lot of my 10% should go to exercise, if not most of it.
For some people this can be done while exercising. This is true for me. I spend most of the time I’m out walking or running thinking. About my future, about my life, about God, about everything. This helps me stay focused on the big picture of life. And I think that keeping in mind the “big picture” is an investment in the future. Some people need prayer in the morning. Or a Bible study. Or simply 20 minutes of silence with their thoughts each day. This is an investment in your future mental sanity.
Third: Helping Others
It may seem strange that I would list “helping others” on a list of things to help you invest in your future self. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Helping is good for the soul, not just today, but who you are in the future. Also, it is an investment in your life after retirement.
Many people hit retirement and suddenly don’t have a thing to do. So they try to start volunteering. However, old people volunteering are a dime a dozen. I’ve heard/read many horrible stories about retirees who want to help, but can’t because they don’t have the skills or the man hours invested in the volunteer position they want.
The best way to ensure that you have a place to go to give back to the world when you retire is to make sure that you already have a place there now, and that you’ve been doing it for some time. You only need 3-10 hours a week to make a difference in the world. And if you start now you can transition that into something more full time when you retire AND you can look back on your life and see the fruits of the good work you did in the world.
It is an interesting realization to me that I am so quick to save 10% of my money for the future, but hesitate when it comes to time. The reality is that without an investment on both ends (time & money), I would be able to properly reap the benefits of either.
So I’ve started going to the gym on my lunch breaks at work and have been walking Jack at least 45 minutes to an hours a day (which he loves!). My walks with Jack serve as a great chance to meditate on life. And the volunteering, well, I need to get back in to that. But it feels oh so silly to start now if I have to leave in August.
What are you thoughts? Do you think that you can dedicate 10% of your time to your future? In what other ways do you think you give to your future on a regular basis?