Retirement Field Guide™ is guided by two primary purposes: #1 is to increase #RetirementLiteracy within the community of people thinking about or making the transition into retirement and #2 is to help those same people live their best life. I find that the people I enjoy most are naturally curious and have a desire to continue learning and improving. Most anyone that reads “a boring financial blog” would almost certainly qualify as having a desire to learn and improve. Given that fact, I am rolling out a new weekly post called “Notes From The Field”. It is a collection of the best things I read, watched, listened to, or thought about throughout the week. Living my best life includes always learning and growing and “Notes From The Field” is my documentation of that journey. If you prefer just the typical financial articles, feel free to skip these. If you come across anything that is interesting, please send it along!
Lessons From the Late John “Jack” Bogle – The Founder of the Vanguard Group
The value of having a mission. – Mr. Bogle had a singular focus looking out for the common investor. He didn’t care what Wall Street thought of him. He simply wanted to make sure investors got a fair shake, believed in educating people on the fallacies of Wall Street and always put the customer first. I’ve read multiple books that he’s written and have seen more interviews than I can count. Each time, I finished with more admiration because he believed in doing the right thing for people no matter what. That philosophy seemed to permeate everything he did.
Two years ago, in his annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett had this to say about Mr. Bogle:
“If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands down choice should be Jack Bogle. For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds. In his crusade, he amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing – or, as in our bet, less than nothing – of added value. In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry. Today, however, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me.”
That’s the power of a mission and a singular focus. His passion for the everyday investor gets me excited about working hard to improve Retirement Literacy!
He provided us with timeless investing philosophies.
He knew the importance of enough. – Mr. Bogle is estimated to have passed away with a net worth around $80 million. To the average person, that likely sounds like a lot. But given that the company he founded, the Vanguard Group, now manages over $5 trillion (with a capital T), he could have easily been one of the richest people on the planet. Amazingly, in accordance with his mission, he structured the company to be owned by the very investors that bought into his philosophy instead of keeping the profits for himself.
Art Carey and Erin Arvedlund of The Inquirer called Jack Bogle “A capitalist with a soul.” For someone as clearly driven and motivated as Mr. Bogle was even into his final days, he lived out his mission every single day.
Rest in Peace Mr. Bogle, you’ve certainly given us something to strive for.
50% into the Future
I was talking with a friend of mine the other night, and he mentioned, “People can only see only 50% of their life into the future.” Meaning a 20-year-old can only think of himself as a 30-year-old. Or a 40-year-old can see herself as a 60-year-old.
I thought this was a really interesting concept and seemed to make a lot of sense. It would at least partially explain why many people don’t really start thinking about (or planning for) retirement until they’re about 40 years old. It’s the first point in life that they can view themselves as a 60-year-old.
And in reality, if you think about almost any age, this concept can at least partially explain why people act the way they do and why they worry about the things they worry about.
There is Freedom in Restriction
About three weeks ago, I made the decision to make my smartphone into a dumbphone. I removed all social media, email (gasp!), and even the internet (GASP!). It’s the best thing I’ve done in years!
It took a few days, but I’ve found I don’t think about my phone anymore. And I can actually think clearly. I don’t have the distractions that I had just three weeks ago.
I no longer feel fake vibrations in my pocket – you know the feeling when you think your phone is ringing only to check it and realize it wasn’t actually ringing.
I am okay now with not being able to Google something at a moment’s notice. And since I got rid of all social media and the internet, there’s no more mindless scrolling. At the grocery store the other night waiting in the checkout lines, I was one of about three people not looking down at their phones. I see it everywhere now.
I’m getting more and better work done. I’m more focused in conversations, and I’m more focused on my children at home. I even think more clearly. The freedom I’ve found by restricting myself has been unreal.
For those that are wondering, I still check my email regularly, but only when I’m sitting in front of an actual computer or on my iPad once the boys have gone to bed. Given that I personally expect to provide timely responses to client emails, this was my most nervewracking feeling initially, but I find I’ve been just as responsive, and yet far less distracted.
I won’t belabor this anymore. I’ve shared it before, but if you’re interested in considering this for yourself, this is the article that I got the idea from.
Acting on impulse is almost always your enemy. Rarely does it benefit you in relationships (reacting in anger), dieting (the candy bar in the checkout line), or investing (maybe I should sell now?). Figure out a way to curb your impulses and your life will likely improve in a variety of ways.
Quote I’m Thinking About:
“Success is: Do your kids remember you for being the best dad? Not the dad who gave them everything, but will they be able to tell you anything one day? Will they be able to call you out of the blue, any day, no matter what? Are you the first person they want to ask for advice? And at the same time, can you hit it out of the park in whatever it is you decide to do as a lawyer, as a doctor, as a stockbroker, as a whatever?
Peter Attia in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris
For many retirees, making the transition from saving to spending is difficult. If you’re willing, I’d love it if you shared what you did or are planning to do to make this transition more manageable. Let me know!
What do you think of Notes from the Field?
Thanks for reading!
If you’re looking for a retirement planner to help you make a comfortable transition into retirement and want to see if we’re a good fit, reach out to me and my team at Shorebridge Wealth Management.
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