Every Day is a New Beginning by Terry Greenhut
My computer screen was blank. There was nothing on it but the band of tasks to click on at the top and bottom. The center, where I would do my writing was totally void of any characters. That’s when it dawned on me that life is like a blank computer screen. Every morning we wake up and make conscious choices as to how we’re going to fill it up.
It’s nice that we get to have that renewal everyday. Things always look better in the morning. There is always an expectation that today will be great. It may not be, but the expectation is always there. Whatever happened yesterday is old news. It’s not like in the movie “Groundhog Day” where you just keep reliving the same day over and over again (although sometimes it may feel that way). You get to start fresh everyday and put yesterday behind you.
Did you ever have something happen that really upset you like a car falling off a lift or perhaps setting one on fire? You may have even gotten a notice that you are being audited by the state or the IRS. The prospect of all the problems and costs involved make you feel awful. It’s hard to finish out the day, but the day does eventually end. By tomorrow you are handling the problems and maybe even laughing no matter how ridiculous the situation.
Just think how horrible it would be if we never slept, if we never got the chance to renew, or if everyday was just a continuation of the day before. We’d never get the opportunity to start over, but we do get that opportunity everyday, if we choose to take advantage of it.
I like to hang my feet off the edge of the bed every morning and just sit there for a minute until my head clears and I start to realize what city I’m in. Then I ask myself, “What are you going to do today that is different or special? What can you do for your customers that you haven’t done before or in a long time?” The object is to feel that you’ve accomplished something new, different, and hopefully exciting by the end of the day as opposed to just living through it.
I’m a firm believer in setting long term goals then dividing them into bite sized pieces so you always feel you are accomplishing something that brings you closer to getting what you want. I like to set twenty year goals because I know how fast time goes by.
I remember when I opened my first shop. I was buying the building and was very apprehensive about paying off the five year first and ten year second mortgages that ran concurrently. My partner in the real estate, who was a lot older and much more savvy than I was said, “Don’t worry kid; ten years is the blink of an eye.” He was right. Before I knew it the mortgages were paid. In fact, before I could get too comfortable twenty five years went by.
If you know where you want to be in twenty years you can easily see what your goal has to be for ten years, then five, then two and one. You can even figure out where you need to be tomorrow to stay on track with your goal.
Will you actually reach a twenty year goal in twenty years? Maybe not, it might take twenty two. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that by having goals and knowing why you go to work everyday, if something happens to sidetrack your goal you can just pick up from whatever point you got derailed and keep on going. Of course you will be sidetracked. Things will happen within or beyond your control. Illness, a downturn in the economy, a bad business decision or a divorce can be major contributing factors to your goals being placed on hold. If you’re not careful these factors may even lead you to abandon your goals altogether.
Why would you want to set long range goals in the first place? Two words; children and retirement. If you have children the day may come when they announce that they want to go off to college. If you are lucky and they are very bright and have been diligent about their high school studies, they just might get a scholarship to a state college, in which case your cost will be minimal. If not, you will fall into the category that so many of us have, trying to put together the money to send them to some kind of a private college or university. Note: When they call it a university they get to charge more for it.
Having my daughter relatively late in life I had to think about both college and retirement at the same time. It cost over $160,000 to put her through four years of private college. Then she decided to become a chef. That’s another two years and another $60,000. Of course she wants to open her own restaurant one day that I’m sure she’ll want me to help finance and I don’t even want to think about paying for her wedding, but I have to.
What does it cost to retire? It depends on how you want to live and how long you think you will live. The answer to the first is much easier than the answer to the second. If you want to live in the style in which you become accustomed you will have to find a way to replace the pay check you have been and are now receiving. If you stay in the same house, same state, or same part of the country, chances are your expenses will stay about the same as they are now. So the money you make will need to be about the same. However, if you want to enjoy retirement by doing more leisurely activities than you did when you were working you may find that you need even more income to cover the additional costs. Then there is something you will need to buy that you may never have thought of before. It is expensive but it can keep you from losing all of your money should you or your spouse ever have to be placed in a rehab facility for any length of time. It’s called “Long Term Care Insurance”. The premiums depend on age. If you buy it when you’re younger it may not cost as much as when you grow older, but if you wait it could cost a lot more and if you don’t do it at all it could cost everything.
If you live in the North, retiring to the South may help with the cost of heat, winter clothing, and sometimes property taxes and the cost of a home. You may even be able to sell you present home, buy a new one, and have a nice chunk of money left over.
If you’ve paid into it you will probably get a Social Security check every month that may cover some of the basics but probably won’t be enough to live on without some kind of a supplement. In fact, it may only be enough to cover the cost of the Long Term Care insurance we spoke of earlier.
So what do you have to do? First you need to understand that you don’t know how long you or your spouse will live after you retire so you need to plan on it being a long time. You don’t want to run out of money before you run out of breath. Then you need to look at investment strategies that will allow you to achieve the goals you set. You want annuities that will provide you with a check every month that will allow you the lifestyle you want. Sit down with a financial planner you trust and talk about your goals. He or she will be able to tell you what it will take to get there safely. The goal they set will have you investing a certain amount each week or month. If you can, either have the money taken directly from your pay check or your bank account so you can’t make excuses for not paying into the plan. Be certain that any plan for retirement is based on very secure non-volatile investments. You aren’t looking to gamble here. The rest of your life is at stake.
If you wipe the screen clean every morning and work on your long term goals you will provide yourself with the purpose you need to cruise through life and enjoy it.
About the Author: Terry Greenhut is a highly sought after Automotive Aftermarket Sales Trainer and Key Note Speaker. He has authored numerous Automotive Aftermarket Sales Training Articles in many of the major automotive trade journals over the years. His best selling Automotive Aftermarket Sales Training Course is recognized as the industry standard. You can learn more about Terry by visiting his website at www.terrygreenhut.com