The Game of Golf “FORE” Savings
Learning how to play the game of golf can be very challenging. The terminology alone is a hurdle in itself: bogey, eagle, mulligan, shank, fried egg! Seriously, was this originally an initiation into a secret society?
Nonetheless, those who play are passionate about the game. Understandably so. You spend a good part of the day outdoors surrounded by beautiful sprawling green grass, tall trees, often ornate lakes or ponds, and good company. The only focus is trying to get a ball into a hole; 18 different holes to be exact.
Learning the savings game is not any different. Yes, like golf, we need to “learn” to save, and like golf, a savings plan has its own dictionary. Beyond the traditional savings account, there is IRA, ROTH, 401k, 403b, HSA, SEP-IRA, a taxable investment account, and many other ways to save – all which have their own set of rules and challenges.
In golf, we play with a set of clubs. Each club is used for a given task at hand, to send the ball a certain distance or help in a specific scenario – like being stuck in the sand trap. Comparatively, in saving, each type of account is used for a certain goal, although some accounts are similar in nature such as retirement savings accounts. Many retirement accounts have tax advantages during the years of accumulation, but different annual contribution limits and rules to contribute and withdraw. All, however, have the same task at hand – save for the future.
There are many obstacles and challenges when trying to save. However, we need to approach our savings goals like we do golf — one hole at a time.
Think of each savings goal as a golf hole. That particular hole (goal) may have a lake we need to clear, or a fairway lined with many trees making it impossible to find our ball if we hit it out of bounds. We may play it safe on that hole knowing we have other holes to make it up. In saving, if there is an unexpected event that occurs where we need to dip into another account or not save as much as we wanted to that month, we can adjust and make it up in the coming months.
As I always say, life happens and saving takes time, practice and lots of perseverance. When a ball goes awry, a golfer will yell “FORE” so other players proceed with caution. In planning for retirement savings, think of “FORE” as your Future; prepare for Obstacles; so you may Retire and Enjoy!
Michele Sarna is a financial advisor at Beacon Pointe and can be reached at (760) 932.0930.