We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s not rocket science” or “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist,” which is easy for all the folks who are rocket scientists to say! The truth though, is once we get enough information to become informed, we realize what we thought was impossible is now within reach. So why start a website related to retirement?
The simple reason is because it’s my passion. When I was a teenager, I might have had about 14 cents to my name, but I was fascinated to learn all about the stock market from my father who sold investments. As I grew older I realized what seemed like common sense to me sounded like rocket science to others, so I started to give advice to those around me. Both family and friends suggested I become a financial advisor, but just like my day job in IT, I didn’t think what I did was really that difficult.
Boy was I wrong! At an investment seminar at work a financial advisor suggested folks don’t try to answer the question “what is your investing style” or “what is your risk tolerance,” and instead look at their prior actions. He asked how many people sold off their investments when the market crashed in 2008, and a huge number of people in the room shook their head in the affirmative. My head almost exploded!
“WHAT?! WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS” I thought. Everyone knows to “buy low and sell high,” and yet here’s a roomful of highly educated people who sold when the market was at its bottom. This was a real wake-up call to me that all of us can learn more from each other. As an undergraduate at Drexel University, an engineering professor repeated the phrase that the biggest problem we all have is that “we don’t know what we don’t know.”
If you don’t even know what risk tolerance or an investing style is, how are we supposed to know what ours is, or why it matters? My goal in this blog is to get you thinking about life, money, dreams, and retirement. The truth is, every situation is different, which is why there are hundreds of personal finance websites out there with conflicting information. Hopefully the tools and insights here will help you come up with the answers relevant to your situation.
There is no right answer that’s good forever, and as we learn new information we adapt and overcome. Even rocket science changes as we get new tools and discover new ways of doing things. When should you retire? How much should you invest? When is the best time to take Social Security? You might as well ask “is a cabin in the woods better than a sunny beach?” Is warm apple cider on a fall day better than cold lemonade on a summer afternoon? Your answers to all of these questions may change, and that’s okay. The goal is to make the right decisions for your circumstance, and have the tools available to deal with what life throws at you.
It’s easy to get discouraged because of events in your personal life, at work, or far away on the other side of the world. Remember, just because you don’t have the answers yet, doesn’t mean it’s rocket science! I chose the name Retirement Rocket Science because ultimately we all want to retire.
What is retirement?
When I was a kid, retirement meant getting old and having furniture covered in plastic. The good news is, retirement can occur at any age, and no plastic is required. Like many, I don’t define retirement as a stage in my life where I can sit around and do nothing, but rather a time in my life when I can do whatever I really want. What’s more liberating than that?
Retirement calculators don’t take a lot of the stuff that makes up life into account, so don’t feel frustrated if you feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole when you investigate how to be wise with your money. A lot of retirement information seems to focus on accumulating as much wealth as possible, but you might find we all not only have different definitions of wealth, but that all the money in the world may not leave you satisfied when the time comes to retire.
So thanks for visiting, and stick around, I’ll be adding new posts regularly. Ask questions, explore the site, and ensure you’re on the path to financial independence. Join me and start your quest in becoming a retirement rocket scientist yourself!