Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time is your friend; put it to work

Many people around our great state are thrilled that summer has finally arrived. Though it’s not official for a few weeks, evidence is everywhere. Joggers and bicyclists are out on the trails and paths. Ball players and golfers are swinging away in the warm weather. Boats are suddenly appearing on the water and outdoor music festivals are underway at the various venues throughout the area.

Before you know it, we will be talking about the Woodward Dream Cruise and then, just like that, summer will be winding down and everyone will be looking forward to football season.

I mention all this because time has a way of getting away from us. I believe we’ve all heard the expressions, “You’re wasting my time” and “Time is money.” There are a lot of things money can buy, but time is definitely not one of them. But even though we aren’t able to buy time, most of us can improve how we manage it. That’s significant because money management and time management go hand in hand.

People often ask me when they should start saving for their retirement. The fact is, it’s never too early, especially since time has a way of simply getting away from us.

For example, setting taxes aside and using a purely hypothetical growth rate of 6 percent, lets take a look at what could happen with two individuals, both aged 21.

Suppose one begins saving $100 per month. The other delays saving for 10 years and doesn’t begin saving until age 31. In other words, one has a 10-year head start.

Remarkably, the one who began saving at age 21 has nearly double the amount in his nest egg at age 65 than his buddy who waited 10 years. In other words, the disciplined one who began saving at age 21 used time to his advantage.

Mathematicians, economists, financial advisers and bankers all know the amazing value of compound interest. They understand how time tends to enhance the value of money.

The bond market can illustrate another example. A 10-year bond these days would pay you somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent. But if you could commit your investment to a 30-year bond, you’d get around 3 percent. That may not sound like much, but the difference is substantial.

There’s no such thing as saving too soon or too little. No matter the amount, if you can save on a regular basis, you will be rewarded. And the sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the benefits of two great allies. Compound interest and time.

Remember, time cannot be bought or replaced. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

As life expectancies increase, it’s a challenge to make certain that your income lasts as long as you do. That’s why it’s so critical to do everything in your power to grow a sizeable nest egg. And a good path to achieving that goal is to start early, stay on course and manage prudently.

The earlier you start saving, the more you’re using time as an ally. Seasons go fast, so enjoy them to the fullest. Because once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. No amount of money can bring back time; but time can help you enjoy many more seasons as you go through life.

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