Can you think of starting your day without a cup of your freshly brewed coffee? I bet you can’t!
I can’t either. I love coffee. So … apparently do you. In spades.
But, take a minute and think…. is getting that morning buzz more important than creating your retirement nest egg? According to some recent research, coffee is the enemy of your retirement.
I’m sorry. It simply isn’t.
The Right Steps Don’t Discriminate Against Coffee
In my last post, I lamented the clickbait financial wisdom exclaiming how if we just gave up our latte, we’d be rich. Little did I know at the time that Acorn had based an entire survey question around the dreaded cup of coffee.
In their Money Matters survey, the findings reveal that 41% of millennials – my generation – spend more money on coffee than investing in our future. (1.)
The SAME survey of 1,911 Millennials (914 of the respondents were 24-35 vs. 18-23) also found that Retirement (at more than 40% of respondents) was the group’s top financial concern. It outpaced Daily Expenses and Debt.
Then I found this Forbes Fake News Fact Check gem bolstering the Millennial cause. Could Millennials actually be better at saving for retirement than previous generations? The article references an American Enterprise Institute study where, in 2015, Millennials reported that they first began saving for retirement at age 23, versus age 28 for Generation X and age 34 for Baby Boomers.
If you believe the anti-coffee hype, apparently my generation isn’t thinking rationally about saving for our retirement. That might be true, but we’d be placing the blame on the wrong thing.
The Right Steps Include Paying Yourself First
Just to set things straight, our advisor team doesn’t warn clients about the evils of coffee.
What we do often tell clients is that you don’t need to start with a lot to save for the future — think 3 to 4% to make sure you’re getting the free money from your employer (assuming they offer a matching contribution). “Teach yourself right then and there that 10% of it is going back to yourself, no questions asked,” says our Director of Client Service Andrew Thomas, RP, about how to approach saving when starting your career.
So, where’s the other 6 to 7%? Andrew generally advises our clients that (after tackling debt) it’s best to automate savings in an account for rainy days.
As for that 401k account? If you assume a 6% return over a period of 30 to 40 years (the average annual return of the S&P 500 has been almost 10% from 1928 through 2014), you could double your money. (2.)
So you’re a perpetual $40 a week drinker. Now what? Panic because you won’t be able to retire with THAT coffee habit?
We’ll remind you it’s never too early to start thinking about retirement. That’s because retirement doesn’t have to be synonymous with age 60-plus. Many people have their own vision of retirement that is much earlier.
Does It Mean I Have To Give Up My Latte?
The short answer is … no. I would never ask you … or me … to do that.
The bigger picture here is about cutting expenses.
If I were to skip my beloved coffee, perhaps I could save $2,000 a year. And that would go straight into my retirement savings. But I’m not going to do that.
If you love coffee, drink it. Where I make compromises are on the things in my life where I spend money and don’t actually see value in them. I may switch to a generic cereal because I don’t taste any difference. I might start shopping at an outlet mall because it’s the same name-brand stuff at half the price.
So, what are you waiting for? Cup both hands around that delicious cup of coffee and consider other ways to achieve the 10% challenge.
- Millennials may worry about money, but spend more money on coffee than retirement Miami Herald. January 12, 2017. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article126068924.html
- What is the average annual return for the S&P 500? Investopedia. April 2015. http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042415/what-average-annual-return-sp-500.asp
The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice. The S&P 500 index is a market-capitalization-weighted index comprising 500 widely traded stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation. Investing involves risk. Your investments are subject to loss of principal and are not guaranteed.