Pattie Lovett-Reid: Why boring is beautiful when it comes to your finances
I take it as a compliment when people tell me I’m boring. Boring can be a beautiful thing especially when it pertains to your financial situation.
I suspect I’m not alone.
We can spend years saving money for retirement and work really hard during the accumulation phase, but there will come a point for all of us when we ask the question: “Do I have enough to ensure I don’t outlive my retirement funds?” When the answer becomes yes, I have saved enough, the focus shifts to wealth preservation. In other words: It’s about not losing what you have worked so hard for.
But how do you get to protecting your wealth in the first place? Back to being boring.
1. Pay off your home.
2. Fund your children’s university.
3. Invest in blue chip companies that have strong balance sheets that not only pay a dividend, but increase their dividends on a regular basis.
4. Ladder maturities in the fixed-income component of our portfolio.
6. Stop spending what you don’t have.
I have always been a little risk-averse and go for balance sheet creation, not destruction. However, for the record on the last point, this doesn’t mean I don’t spend – because I do. I can spend like a champ. But I won’t spend what I don’t have. Have a plan and stick to it.
The day will come when you start to shift your focus to retirement and the boring approach shifts to having a very clear understanding of what your fixed costs are – mortgage, property taxes, utilities, food, etc. This is where an annuity can come into play. A steady stream of income to align against your fixed costs. Once again, taking the risk out of the equation.
So how do you manage boring and excitement in your life because it isn’t an either/or it is an “and?” You know your numbers, develop a plan, and stick to the plan. I’ve never wanted to be the richest person in the graveyard when I die, and I do want to have a little excitement in my life. I just don’t want my excitement coming from my financial plan.
I’ve been boring my whole life and proud of it.
February is Your Money Month at BNN Bloomberg. For more stories and practical advice on how to employ your money wisely, visit our Personal Finance page.