I didn’t go to this race for the thrill of victory. I simply wanted to run a local race with some friends. So, one Sunday morning, I toed the line at the ultra-prestigious Deerfield Dash 10K and 5K. It was a recreational crowd. Lots of people running with their children and dogs, a guy wearing a velvet sweatsuit in the middle of summer, and some runners carrying steaming cups of latte.
There weren’t too many serious runners. (By the way, I didn't see anybody smoking a cigarette on the start line. I've seen that before which, I have to say, caught me off guard!)
Anyway, the race started and, after a few hundred yards, I realized that I was in first place - a position completely new to me. I came in second place once – and yes, there were more than two runners. Anyway, there I was, right behind the police car.
Could this be the day? Could I be destined for Deerfield Dash greatness? Was I going to be forever immortalized in the Winner’s Circle – making me someone the locals would talk about for years to come? Would I be on the cover of the Deerfield Review? Would my finisher’s photo be tweeted and retweeted? Would I have something to post on my Facebook page besides what I ate for breakfast? (The “likes” would be off the charts!)
Ok, ok. I’ll get on with the story. The police car continued with the 10K route, while I followed the 5K route - all by myself. There were no other runners in sight, and, you guessed it - that’s when the trouble started.
I reached the proverbial fork in the road: A four-way intersection with no signs. And yes, I went the wrong way. Instead of going straight, I turned. I don’t think even the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz could have saved me that day.
Needless to say, a map would have helped me know where to go. (At least I got a free T-shirt...)
So do you have a course map (a plan) for the busy race known as your financial future? Or, are you running ragged without a clue of how to get to your retirement goals?
If you have a plan, review it regularly. We don’t live in a static world. Things change. One year, you may need to put a new roof on the house. The next year, the market might suffer a mighty correction, which may affect how you meet your spending needs.
And just when you think you have it all figured out, something like the COVID 19 strikes, changing everything.
The point is that your lifetime financial map will be loaded with course corrections. Every year, spend time accessing what has transpired, what it means, and what needs to be changed in your plan so you don’t take a wrong turn.
Each year, decisions should be made in an effort to extend the longevity of your assets based on what’s happening in the markets or in your personal life.
I hope you experience the opposite of my day at the “Deerfield Dash.” I went from euphoria to embarrassment in the blink of a wrong turn.
After a few minutes, I realized something was a tad amiss. My watch suggested I had run more than 3.1 miles, which is not a good thing if you haven’t finished a race that equals 3.1 miles and you can't see the finish line!
I was finally able to re-join the correct course in time to come in 3rd place. Yes, I know this begs the question. You went off course but still came in third place? The competition was terrible. I didn't say it was the World Championships!
The guy who came in 2nd place was a man pushing a twin baby jogger! Ouch! You’d think the diaper bag would have slowed him down . . .
Anyway, I wish I had looked at the course map because glory might have been mine. And it can be yours as well during your retirement years, as long as you stay on course!