As we enter 2017, it’s a chance to take some time to reflect on the past year and think about our hopes and dreams with the flip of another calendar year. There were likely some happy surprises, and some hard challenges in 2016. Do you ever stop to think what you have control over, and those things that are completely out of your control?
At the bank recently, the teller shared with me the struggles of refinancing, and then said, “Are you watching those rates go up?” I recently started subscribing to a weekly update, and I have been blown away by the rapid increases in mortgage rates after such little movement for so long. Interest rate changes are definitely out of our control, but the decision to refinance has been available to us for some time if we wanted to take control and act on the opportunity.
It’s also been a year of political change, although those changes will not take effect until 2017. Issues regarding policy, taxation & benefits are all things that affect our retirement, but they are out of our control. The Roth IRA is great tax deferral tool now, but it’s also at the whim of the government to change these rules at any time. Market returns are also something we can’t control, as the media is well aware, after inaccurate predictions of what the stock market would do if one presidential candidate was elected over another.
Then there are those factors which we have some control over, like employment earnings and the duration of our employment. One could say we also have some ability to decide when we take our social security benefits: at any point between the ages of 62-70.
The areas of our lives that we have total control over are where we should be most focused on in 2017. Things like how much money we will save, and how much we will spend; what can we live without and what should we not live without. If you have not walked through a ‘Retirement Map’ with us in Riskalyze, I urge you to do this. It’s extremely helpful to understand how much money you need to accumulate to enjoy an anxiety-free retirement, reviewed at a time when you have control of aiming to meet your goals…before your age, health and mental state dictate what you can, and can’t do.
We also have total control over how our assets are allocated and what investments we hold. Riskalyze helps us understand your tolerance for volatility, and also shows what affect your choices will have on the amount of return your chosen investment mix can achieve.
I hope you will join me in 2017, and tackle some of those factors we have complete control over, at your earliest opportunity.