It’s the wish of every parent that their children will experience a better standard of living than they did. And yet, people who grew up poor and are now raising their kids in affluent surroundings talk about a downside. Never having experienced want, their children simply take their comfortable lifestyle for granted.
New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz writes about what it’s like to raise rich kids after growing up poor. As a child of new immigrants she recalls her mother getting out the flannel sheets and heavy quilts in October so the family could sleep warmly during the brutal New York winters. They had no extra money, making the occasional meal at McDonald’s a rare treat.
But now her own kids sleep in a house where the thermostat is set at 73 degrees year-round. And when they’re out walking with her in the city and their legs get tired, they expect her to summon an Uber.
“I worry about my kids becoming entitled,” writes Markowicz, “but the bigger concern is that they become too comfortable, too sure that their good times can never end.”
What she recognizes as hard-earned luxuries, her kids take for granted. They simply have no frame of reference that includes living without them.
Applying this principle to retirement, you can safely say that those who have accumulated their nest egg through years of disciplined saving will appreciate its benefits much more than a person who’s been given it all in a lump sum—like winning the lottery or receiving an inheritance from a long-lost relative. And so will likely be more in control of their retirement spending.
But the benefits of sticking with a long-term plan go even deeper. Practicing disciplined investing year in and year out, through the inevitable ups and downs of life, builds resilience. Not just financial resilience (having the reserves to handle emergencies and setbacks) but the personal resilience to persevere when faced with problems.
Many people imagine that their retirement will mean days of unending leisure and happiness. They are surprised to learn it’s simply another phase of life. And like all life on this mortal coil, it will come with challenges.
HelpGuide.org, a non-profit mental health organization, puts it this way. “The truth is that no matter how much you’ve been looking forward to it, retiring from work is a major life change that can bring stress as well as benefits.”
The resilience gained through long-term saving for retirement can equip you to make that transition, and help you navigate this exciting next chapter in your life. We have the experience to help you create a realistic plan for how you want to live and give you guidance along the way.