Don’t Go It Alone
Many people set goals at the end of each year and make them their New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, though, it is estimated that approximately 80% of these resolutions will fail. But what if more people embraced their goals and made sure that they were on track going forward?
For many business leaders, setting goals – and remaining focused on them - has been the path to their success. In fact, many CEOs are maniacal about focus. They know what matters, and they shift their attention there.
Take, for instance, Jack Welch. During his forty year career at General Electric, he led the company to year-after-year success around the globe, in multiple markets, against brutal competition. Welch’s honest, be-the-best style of management has become the “gold standard” to the most difficult questions people face both on and off the job.1
As the CEO of GE, Welch was heralded by many as being the greatest leader of his era – starting with his transformation of General Electric from a company known for appliances and lightbulbs to a multi-national corporation that stretched into financial services and media, as well as industrial products.2
Three of the key principals that worked well for Jack Welch – and that can also work for business leaders today – include:
1) Getting your people decisions right.
2) Speaking with candor.
3) Being insatiably curious.3
Welch also identified three prerequisites that any potential leader must possess. These are integrity, intelligence, and maturity. He also described the four qualities that effective leaders demonstrate. These are commonly referred to as the “4 Es,” and they include energy, energizer, edge, and execution.4
While not everyone vies to become the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation like GE, many of the traits and habits of such leaders can also be used in your business and personal life, as well as when planning a successful retirement.
The Harder You Work, the Luckier You May Become
Did you ever notice how the harder someone works at something, the luckier they become? For instance, the guy you see at the gym every day who doesn’t look like he needs to work out, or that wealthy friend who spends almost every day at the golf course entertaining clients and lives in the most beautiful house on the block.
Attaining a successful retirement is similar in many ways. It isn’t something that “just happens” when you turn age 65 – even if you’ve been setting aside money in your company’s 401(k) plan or you have access to a company pension.
In fact, while participating in these plans is certainly a step in the right direction, they can also oftentimes fill us with a false sense of security. So, imagine if you had planned to retire at age 65 + 1 day, only to find out then that you won’t have nearly enough income to sustain your lifestyle throughout what could be a 20+ year post-employment phase of your life.
With that in mind, when it comes to setting up the right amount of future income and securing a worry-free retirement, “Hope is not a strategy.” In fact, if it were, everyone would be multi-millionaires living in mansions on the beach!
The good news is that you actually have more control than you might think when it comes to locking in a steady, ongoing retirement income, along with protection of your hard-earned savings, regardless of what is happening in the stock market, or even in the economy overall.
In addition to that, there is no written “rule” that says you have to wait until you’re age 65 to retire. So, if your retirement income plan and all of its surrounding components are firmly in place, there’s no reason why you couldn’t – or shouldn’t – retire in your 50s, your 40s, or even earlier than that.
YOU are the CEO of Your Retirement
Congratulations! You’ve just been promoted to what will be the most important job of your life – creating and running your retirement! With the very first penny that you save, you are essentially building a “company” that you will be retiring from, and you need to operate it as if you are the CEO.
Your job description consists of the following duties:
· Developing a clear vision of how – and how much – you would like your company to grow over the short- and long-term time horizon
· Setting – and attaining - specific “earnings” and value goals for your company so that it doesn’t have to file for bankruptcy while you (and your spouse) are still “employed”
· Ensuring enough income in retirement to “replace” your current paycheck – which includes maximizing your income sources like Social Security and other incoming cash flow generators
· Growing your income over time in order to keep pace with the rising costs of goods and services that you’ll need to purchase
· Keeping the bulk of your assets protected from market volatility, exceptionally low interest rates, and other risk factors
· Staying active and exercising on a regular basis
· Earmarking funds for any potential healthcare and/or long-term care needs
· Spending time socially with friends, family, and other loved ones
· “Hiring” a team of specialists as your board of directors and coaches who can advise you on financial, legal, tax, and health-related matters
· “Firing” any specialist who strays from your company’s overall vison and focus, and who takes unnecessary chances with business funds
You can also earn some nice additional “bonuses” if you bring in more income than you need for your essential living expenses, leaving you with funds for travel, entertainment, and other fun activities that you can enjoy.
Having a Clear Vision is the Only Way to Reach Your Desired Destination
If you’re familiar with Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” then you may already know that in order to achieve your goals, it is essential for you to “begin with the end in mind.”
In other words, you really need to focus on the outcome that you want to achieve, and only then take the steps that are necessary for getting you there – because without an end point in mind, you are much more apt to stray off course.
As an example, you may have seen or read about a great investment “opportunity” that has the potential to triple your money overnight. But even though it might sound intriguing, you need to stop yourself and ask whether it will really bring you closer to your goals, or will it instead move you further away from them.
Oftentimes, it is the latter. Without having a specific plan in place, though, you may not realize that. But this book will show you the way to determine which financial tools are right for you, based on your objectives. It will also show you how to generate cash flow in a safe financial environment, while at the same time managing work-life balance for you and your “employees.”
The Importance of Setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals (or BHAGS)
When you are working on your goals for retirement, there is no such thing as dreaming “too big.” In fact, the sky’s the limit when you’re setting your Big Hairy Audacious Goals, or BHAGS. And if you align your focus and your actions towards them, there’s a good chance that you will succeed.
That’s exactly what the CEOs and experts we interviewed for this book have done – and many of them are still carving out incredible accomplishments, both professionally and in their personal lives.
You’ll also learn the in-depth details about where these extraordinarily successful individuals started, how they got to where they are today, and what goals they still plan to accomplish going forward.
On the pages that follow in this book, we’ll also be taking a deep dive into the how’s and the why’s of running You, Inc., with the primary company “departments” being Health, Wealth, and Legacy.
But we won’t just talk about strategies, actions, and habits – we will also provide you with specific action steps you can take so that you know exactly what you need to do, who you should contact, and whether or not your plan is staying on track.
For some, planning ahead financially can seem a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of “tools” available in today’s financial marketplace – along with advisors everywhere who would love to sell you each and every one of them. But that’s not how you create a customized retirement plan that is fit specifically to your specific short- and long-term objectives, risk tolerance, and time frame.
So, in order to help keep you on track, as well as to narrow down which financial planning vehicles are – and are not – right for you, feel free obtain a copy of the companion retirement income planning workbook.
This workbook includes action steps for you to take after reading each of the chapters – and it can help you to more clearly determine how to get where you want to go, as well as the steps that are necessary for getting you there.
While many people would agree that “knowledge is power,” the reality is that knowing all there is to know is actually powerless without taking the appropriate actions. So, if you’re ready to jump in and start running your company’s operations as the CEO, just turn the page and let’s get started!