For years, I have trained to climb the tallest mountains in the world. Recently, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and this May, I will climb Mt. Everest. I’m climbing Everest to reach a personal goal, but more importantly I’m climbing to raise money for cancer research. #Everyday Everest
During my training for this summit and others, I have learned to apply a principle that is pulled straight out of the playbook for long distance runners. It is called Negative Splits and because I am also a financial adviser, I have seen how this principle works for investments and retirement planning.
In the world of long distance runners and climbers, there’s a lot of pros and cons to negative splits. But for the sake of this article, let’s look at the positive because it gives insight into what will keep us strong in financial good and bad times.
A negative split is a racing strategy that involves completing the second half of a race faster and stronger than the first half. It’s not that you fail to begin strong, you do, but you also learn how to set your pace, so you are sure to remain strong and reach your desired goal. It’s defined by an intentional setting of a slower and steady initial pace, followed by a gradual increase toward the end. All of us want to end well!
Begin strong; finish stronger!
Running negative splits in training is also an effective way to build both your aerobic base and the required mental toughness of a long event. Climbers and runners train this way. Then when it comes to the actual event, they intuitively understand what it takes to summit the mountain or cross the finish line. Do you know what it will take for you to cross your line for victory? Many don’t, especially when it comes to saving and investing for retirement.
People either begin too fast or fail to train for the long-range journey. Young clients tell me: I have time to up my 401k contribution but that is a dangerous misnomer. Others get caught up in worry and miss the joy of the journey. They are afraid they won’t have enough money to do the very things that will bring experience, joy, and fulfillment later in life.
Dave Ramsey says, “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you!”
Boomers are healthier and better educated than previous generations. After retirement, they actually are eager to stay a part of the workforce, active in their communities, while exploring options that range from bridge jobs to starting their own businesses!
They see retirement with different eyes that many don’t! They want to stay active while lessening their responsibilities and tapping into things that have value and meaning.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch conducted a study in 2014 that found that 72 percent of pre-retirees want to work well after they retire. They also want to enjoy what they are doing and not feel the stress they felt when they were younger and pushing to get that corner office with a view.
So, let’s boil this down: beginning strong with a solid investment strategy means you can end stronger than you imagined. Think about it: Kevin Crain, of Bank of America, says 60 is no longer old and I agree! And with the increasing concern about Alzheimer’s, many Boomers want to remain active with the hope of avoiding cognitive decline.
So, you see how the concept of a negative split can lead to a better second half!?
Our world has changed and is changing daily. This is why you need a trusted financial counselor to work and walk alongside you. You can trust this fact: you will view retirement totally differently than your parents did.
More than likely, you will repurpose your talents, experiences, and skills while staying in the work force, and what you will find, may surprise you. Employers will hire an experienced worker just to add stability to a team of 20-somethings! It’s a very smart move.
And honestly, going from a structured work environment to the total flexibility of retirement is often a shock. Boredom can set in and lead to destructive behaviors and even addictions that prevent people from finishing well. Remember you are “all in” when it comes to finishing strong and reaching your full potential, even past your retirement age.
A financial adviser can show you how to set the right pace for your life—sticking to your plan with small adjustments along the way.
Keep your pace strong
I suggest to my clients that they learn about their investments and the economy—its shifts, moods, and how to have a solid investment strategy. The more they understand about their own finance journey, the more their confidence builds. Then they understand when I talk about the last half of their financial climb or journey.
So, when it comes to having the right financial mindset a negative split makes sense. You do need to run the back half of your life stronger than the first. In a good economy, you may even kick the pace up a notch! Or in a bad economy, you can huddle down knowing that the best financial plan is the one you have in place at this moment.
Overall, my suggestion is to pace yourself well with a budget and plan for the future, make solid investments, wise decisions financially, and enjoy the journey and stop looking around the next bend in the road for a grander moment. Because that grand moment is probably the very one that you are experiencing now.
To learn more about negative splits and how to finish stronger than you began, sign up for 15-minutes free. I’d love to help you strategize.