Is summer vacation more important than retirement? - opinion

So much planning is invested for a week or two, but when it comes to trying to figure out how to finance 20 years of retirement, we can’t seem to find the time.

A GIRL walks along the waterfront on Ammolofoi beach in Nea Peramos, Greece. (photo credit: ALEXANDROS AVRAMIDIS/REUTERS)
A GIRL walks along the waterfront on Ammolofoi beach in Nea Peramos, Greece.
(photo credit: ALEXANDROS AVRAMIDIS/REUTERS)
 “The one thing that offends me most is when I walk past a bank and see ads trying to convince people to take out second mortgages on their home so they can go on vacation. That’s approaching evil.” Jeff Bezos
We’ve received our various school graduation invitations (more on that next week), so I guess that means summer is right around the corner.
Turn on the news and each night you will see an item on how to save money on your vacation, the top places abroad to travel, and the hottest – both literally and figuratively – nearby destinations. 
After a year and a half of corona, Israelis are desperate to get out and vacation. In fact, every day, when I come home from work, my 12-year-old asks, “Are we flying? Going to the north? What are we doing in the summer?”
Over the next two months, Israelis will travel. With local hotel and zimmer prices sky high, it will be interesting if they throw caution to the wind and fly abroad, or stay local. There is no question that it has gotten to the point that it is cheaper to fly abroad than to vacation in Israel, which is sad. 
It actually makes no difference whether you stay local or fly abroad because I bet that in anticipation for your trip, you have spent hours speaking to friends and researching online to find a destination and plan an itinerary to try and create the perfect family vacation. 
We all want to pack in as much as possible to get the most value out of our vacation. Just think about how much time you spend planning a 1-2 week vacation. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
So much planning is invested for a week or two, but when it comes to trying to figure out how to finance 20 years of retirement, we can’t seem to find the time. 
I realize that trying to plan for something that may be years down the road isn’t always at the top of our priority list. We are all busy and tend to focus on the immediate, or short- term while neglecting important long-term financial issues. But the day will  come when you wake up and you are in your late 40’s- mid 50’s and realize you are way behind in retirement savings. 
Over the last two weeks, I’ve received four calls from individuals in this demographic who finally realized that they’d better start thinking about retirement. Maybe we can take just a bit of vacation planning intensity and apply it to long-term financial planning.

Wake up

Stop delaying. Take a few minutes and analyze where you are today and think about where you’d like to be in the future. Make, don’t buy, yourself a cup of coffee and try to figure out your anticipated income over the next few years.  Don’t forget about potential bonuses or raises you might receive, or major gifts or inheritances that may come down the road. Then calculate your expenses and don’t forget to include any large bills or upcoming expenses (e.g. car or apartment purchase, wedding etc.)
Saving needs to be made a priority in order to both fund next year’s summer trip as well as your retirement. Each month, before you pay your bills, pay yourself first and automatically deposit money into savings. If you don’t prioritize savings there is a pretty good chance that you won’t save. After all, we can all figure out a way to spend more money.

Your money itinerary

Developing a financial plan is like designing a travel itinerary. For the latter, first, you decide where to go, and then you figure out which sites you want to see. 
Your financial plan is no different. Before you decide which investments to buy, you need to figure out your goals and what kind of retirement you want to have. After that, you can plug in the investments that will allow you to achieve those goals. In fact, the investment aspect maybe the easiest part of the process.
“Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.” The asset allocation model is a tool that can help with this. 
As implied by the name, asset allocation is the process of determining how your investment portfolio should be invested among the different asset classes (cash, cash equivalent, income, equities) based on your risk tolerance and your financial goals. It involves diversifying or spreading your investments across these asset classes in order to maximize potential returns while minimizing risk.
When traveling, you also diversify. You may go to a museum one day, to the beach the next, and a hike in the mountains on the third day. You end up doing many different things to keep everyone happy and end up with a successful vacation. 
It’s the same concept with investing. You owe it to yourself and your family. Spend some time thinking about your future and how you will pay for it. Don’t wake up when it’s too late.
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.

Aaron Katsman is a member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. For more information, call (02) 624-0995 visit www.aaronkatsman.com or email aaron@lighthousecapital.co.il.