Creating A Successful Outcome With Willpower


A lot of posts here are aimed at finding different ways to overcome obstacles to having a successful retirement or more precisely a successful financial outcome later in life. Anyone who goes back with me to the earliest Random Roger days might remember that I am a big believer in manifesting which during the last decade gained popularity as The Secret as popularized by Rhonda Byrne.

My indoctrination to The Secret came during a Super Bowl Party as the Patriots were taking it to the Carolina Panthers a little over 14 years ago. I was having a conversation with friends and the conversation turned toward life philosophy and without ever having read The Secret, I espoused several of the core tenets such that my friends were stunned I'd never heard of it. I won't be upset if anyone thinks this is a bunch of hippie nonsense but it has worked for me for much of my life. I have had a couple of serious obstacles along the way but I have continually believed positive outcomes were coming and that is generally what has happened. A big part of this certainly is luck and while I consider myself very lucky, I realize not everyone can be lucky in life but with a change in perspective maybe everyone can be luckier than what they have been.

You might hear of this as "putting it out there." My wife and I joke about this a lot, she'll tell me to put something out there or "make it happen" and while it is funny, a lot of what I put out there happens.

Two insignificant microcosms of putting something positive out there happened today. You can probably tell I enjoy taking pictures of all sorts of things including (especially?) fire trucks which ties in with my having been a volunteer firefighter since 2003. We are in Kauai this week and anytime we go somewhere I make an effort to try to get pictures of local apparatus and fire houses (my wife is very patient}. The station closest to where we are staying has a good looking rig but every time we go by it is in the station bay and not well positioned to take a picture. As we were headed in that direction this morning to go to breakfast I said I think that engine will be out front and I am going to stop if it is.

It was.

Later we were driving to Koloa through Kapaa and there is a neat looking fire house right on the Kuhio Highway in a very busy part of town. The station is very interesting looking but on the way past, the doors were open but both rigs were gone. As we were coming back I grabbed the phone and said I am going to get my camera ready in case something magic can happen with that fire house.

The traffic in Kapaa has become brutal. It is a narrow road and the population is much bigger since the last time we came in 2010. The street says not block the station house but I have no idea whether people abide by that or not but going by there was no traffic, doors were open and both rigs in quarters. It can work with big things too.

How can this help with retirement? A lot of people of course face uncertainty in terms of their retirement planning for not having enough money to maintain their lifestyle, potentially uncomfortable unknowns related to healthcare expenses and if/when Social Security might have to cut benefits and of course we all have variables unique to our own circumstance.

One recurring comment I have made in this regard is that no matter what number you think you need, whatever you end up with will become your reality and you will make it work because you will have no choice. Thinking you need $800,000 and ending up with $700,000 or $600,000 might means a couple of tough choices but someone in that situation who can be a little creative and open minded can probably make that work without a lot of anguish. The person who thinks they need $1 million and ends up with $300,000 may very well have a lot of anguish but they too can make it work because they will have to. "Making it work" could include downsizing, working longer, having a post-retirement gig, living as a young retiree in a cheaper country and then coming back later, some combo of those or something altogether different but they will make it work.

Part of putting it out there is being positive and knowing, I mean truly believing that no matter what they will be able to make it work and do so in a way that makes them happy.

We all face obstacles at different points in our lives, we have all known people to take a woe is me attitude and we have all known people who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and overcome those obstacles. The path to accumulating for retirement and then the path for withdrawing from retirement are bound to each have obstacles related to things you clearly have no control over like market performance to things that maybe you can't control but can have a more direct impact on solving.

I believe people can create their own good luck by bringing a genuinely positive outlook to what might be a difficult situation, fate has a tendency to reward people who are positive. And even if something doesn't end up going your way you'll be better off for not having worried excessively about an adverse outcome that you weren't able to control (a little bit of stoicism thrown in).

You can dismiss this or accept it but I am telling you it can work.