My blog today was inspired by the shock of realizing it was my turn to write the blog this week. That cliché you heard from people older than you when you were growing up is true. Time does speed up when you have fewer years in front of you than you have behind you, especially when you’re having a good time.
I’m extremely fortunate to be one of those people who enjoys going to work and interacting with all our clients and my coworkers. Whether I’m preparing for a meeting or listening to a client, the minutes fly by and the day is over before I am ready for it to be.
I believe the same thing happens to other people – even if they don’t love their jobs as much – especially when it comes to all the things they want to accomplish with their financial resources.
Here at TAAG we’ve gotten used to hearing “We’ve been meaning to come in and see you for about X years, but time went by and we never got it scheduled.” And while my days go too fast, time that goes by before people act on their finances has a much bigger impact than they realize.
Take college, for example. Parents of a baby born today who want to pay 100% of the cost of an average in-state college education need to deposit $675 a month into a tax-advantaged 529 plan invested mostly in stocks, but if they wait until their baby is in kindergarten, the monthly saving goal jumps to $825. If they put it off until their child is 10, the amount climbs to nearly $1,200 a month. Recently someone came to see me for the first time because his daughter was applying to colleges, and he was shocked to learn there were no government programs to pay tuition for families earning what they did, and loans were available but not unlimited. He wanted to know what he could do, but his options were limited. He kept repeating over and over that he’d meant to get something started, but never got around to it.
Over the years we’ve also seen beneficiary change forms that didn’t get turned into employers, disability insurance applications that weren’t sent in before the benefit was needed, and estate documents that weren’t updated when they should have been.
On the other hand, setting something up to work for you while you move on with your life can deliver a happy surprise. A client with a Healthcare Savings Account invested her account according to our recommendations, and left the deposited funds to grow while she paid most of her medical expenses out-of-pocket. She was shocked to realize she’s already accumulated nearly $130,000 that can be used as a tax-free resource for her healthcare expenses in retirement.
At TAAG we advocate for your future self, because we understand the speed of life makes it difficult to take the time today to address financial issues that are important but not urgent or seem so far away.
Trust me, with the speed of life they’ll be here before you know it.