Unfortunately, our current society doesn’t always reward the truth.  Tell someone the truth and you will likely be perceived as rude, inconsiderate, selfish or unkind.  The reality is, that truth hurts, and people don’t want to hear the truth because we are sensitive.  So – we lie through our teeth, to maintain our relationships and to push our agenda.

It happens every day.  I have gained almost 40 lbs. since my professional basketball career ended, and it never ceases to amaze me that I see an old friend and they say, “Wow Thanasi have you lost weight? You look great man!”

We do this in our jobs as well.  Humans survive by cooperating, and to successfully cooperate, we need motivated coworkers!  If you told your coworker the truth, that you didn’t have much faith in their abilities, how would that go?  I could go on about the lies we tell to protect ourselves, our interests, our image or our friends’ feelings but let’s talk about why the truth matters to you in your life from your professionals.

The truth that you deserve to hear, that nobody is telling you, is that you are probably behind.  We grew up focusing on our grades and test scores, but now, are you growing up with your finances? Stop being irresponsible.  Let’s be real.  Planning is the only way to build enough income and savings for you and your family to survive and adapt to changing circumstances and live your best life for 25+ years of unemployment during your older years.  Baby boomers are showing us that businesspeople who blew off their financial obligations for their old age in their first 25-30 years of employment cannot fix their financial livelihood during the last 5-10 years.

You and your spouses must either plan to earn and accumulate enough money with dignity, and execute in a thorough, loving, enthusiastic, passionate and disciplined way or – work until you die and pray you don’t get sick.  OR, win the lottery, OR, count on a surefire inheritance.  There are no other options.

I know, it’s HARD.  We want to have fun and spend money and pay for luxuries that make our life more convenient.  After meeting with many families, I really believe $10,000/month is a magic number.  This is an after-tax annual number of $120,000 or a gross of 28% Federal/State number of $166,666.  This is two $80,000+ spouses or one breadwinner earning the $166,000.  This is to BREAK-EVEN.

$10,000 per month really gets us a wonderful, convenient, above-average life that covers housing, medical care, transportation, food, childcare and some travel experiences and dining out.

8 Hard Truths about your Financial Life

  1. If you want to replace this income, dollar for dollar, you either have to eat rice and beans and change this life to $7500 per month of expenses OR,  grow your gross income by another $41,666 and save every incremental dollar above the baseline $10,000 monthly expense.
  2. If you currently do not have a savings strategy that incorporates automated investment purchases, your chances to succeed are lower.
  3. If you keep procrastinating, you are missing out on the 8th wonder of the world and it will only get more difficult to catch up.
  4. If you have kids, and you do not know how you will cover their education expense, you are failing your posterity.  Unless you are the kind of person that says, “I had to pay for school, I will make my kids” — BUT you are probably still paying off student loans and will put your kids in the same position.
  5. If you are 40 – you have been working for a minimum of 15 years.  At an average salary of $80,000 per year, this means you have cumulatively earned $1,200,000 in your career.  If you do not have at least $200,000 in your brokerage account or your 401k, you are MASSIVELY, behind. Grow up.  This is not counting your spouse.  You should also own your own home by now.  If you don’t, I assume you have $300,000+ because you have not spent money on mortgage interest, property taxes, property repairs and maintenance.
  6. If you are behind, and you know you are behind, STOP doing things you know you shouldn’t.
  7. If you are like me and you eat late, lack sleep, and eat poorly, you are getting fat and your health is as important as your wealth.  Let’s do this together.
  8. I ran out of generic truths, but if you want your personal feelings to be tested and need someone to check your progress, find a financial life manager who doesn’t lie to close business.

*Athanassios Panagiotakopoulos is an Investment Advisor Representative with Dynamic Wealth Advisors dba Life Managed. All investment advisory services are offered through Dynamic Wealth Advisors.

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