Let's Physically Climb the Mountain
The laws of motion, as defined by Sir Isaac Newton and the great astronomer Galileo Galilei, provide us a framework for understanding momentum, or inertia. Their wisdom simply suggests that a body at rest will remain at rest until moved by an outside force. Now, let's try to apply physics rules to finances. The law of motion applied to your retirement planning would suggest that if you do nothing to prepare for your retirement, you are destined to get what you prepare for: nothing. So we need an outside force to move you along. That's where I come in. I'm the outside force pushing you to engage in this process, to take action, to let inertia carry you to retirement security at a level that meets your needs.
An interesting fact about Sir Isaac Newton is that he could bench-press 275 pounds and was the three-time Calculus World Champion. He was Charles Atlas and brains combined.
I can't think of a better analogy than that of climbing a mountain to use as the foundation for our journey. As a recreational mountain climber, I have read numerous books on the subject and have yearned, like so many other recreational climbers, to one day test my physical and mental discipline on a noted climb in the Himalayas, Africa, or some other exotic location. By general definition, a mountain has a broad base, tapering to a peak. The goal of climbers is to reach the peak. In doing so, climbers typically have any number of routes they can take in pursuit of their quest. Each route carries with it different challenges and a unique landscape to navigate.
In general, the easier the mountain terrain, the less need for assistance in the climb. Most people can walk up a hill without ropes and a guide. But as the terrain becomes more challenging, the risk of injury increases dramatically, and climbers must then make certain decisions that directly impact their personal safety and their ability to achieve their goal. For the most difficult mountains, climbers may need a professional guide, various ropes and ladders, special clothing and equipment, and even oxygen to sustain their life at higher altitudes.
If you enjoy the analogy of mountain climbing, you may want to check out these Web sites:
The road to a secure retirement is much like the mountain that stands before us with its lofty peak and snow-capped ridges beckoning us to achieve the ultimate goal of standing at its highest point. And as with choosing the best route to ascend the mountain, there are any number of ways to reach your retirement goals, each with its own risks and rewards. There are also certain actions you can take without any direction from a guide and others that I believe will require that you either achieve a level of understanding equal to that of a guide or enlist the help of a professional to climb your retirement mountain.
But whichever path you take, either alone or with a guide, you need to make a decision. We live in a free society, and it's up to you to control your retirement destiny. Yes, you are the ultimate decision maker and you can choose to climb the mountain yourself or to enlist someone to help you in achieving your goal. I just urge you take action and do something because paralysis is likely to result in failure. Let me add here that when I refer to "you" throughout this book, I'm referring to either an individual or to a couple. If you're one voice in a decision that will ultimately affect two people, I strongly suggest that your spouse, partner, or significant other either read this book as well or at least read Chapters 16, Chapters 1315, and the Power Checklist at the end of each chapter.