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My Future Self

Friday, May 10, 2013

I work in the retirement industry. In this regard, I have no trouble connecting to my future self. The first cut of my paycheck goes to my 401k, I stay on top of my investments, and I badger my husband about making sure he does the same. I don’t have dreams of extraordinary retirement wealth or anything like that, but I look forward to the day I can pay myself my own income to do exactly what I want.

-Write a book.
-Run more half marathons.
-Lounge around and do nothing.

Somebody’s gotta pay me to do these things. And that somebody is me. So I might sacrifice now by doing things like trying to win an iPad in a Brother Jimmy’s Barbecue free NCAA tournament ( wp.me/p1N36Q-3K ) instead of going out and buying one. I buy Powerball tickets, but only if I happen to be buying coffee at Quick Chek instead of making it myself (rare) AND the Powerball is over 100 million (even rarer). FYI – I already requested Monday off from my employer so that I can go out and celebrate the cool 270 million I’ll be winning tomorrow night.

Anyway, not everyone has had the good fortune of growing up with a CPA for a mom and a financial planner for an uncle – two people who have drilled into me the importance of retirement savings since I was, oh, 9 years old. Nor has everyone had the luck of having grandparents on both ends of the retirement spectrum – one on government assistance, the others living comfortably on the waterfront in Florida – to help me clearly understand what could be in store for me for the future. So I get why we’re in a retirement crisis, and I understand that saving for one’s future has been the exception more so than the rule.

Seeing this ad on my car dealer’s website today prompted this particular post. It’s messages like this that contribute to the overall retirement crisis. Why save in your 401k when you can “invest” in a new car lease?

Obviously, as a retirement industry employee, I’m pretty unhappy with MINI over this ad… among other things. The reason I was on my dealer’s website today is because my car’s “Check Engine” light is on yet again – and came on 24 hours after I had just been in for service. On top of that, I’m back at the dealer every three months for what feels like the SAME issue every single time.

But I digress. What does all of this have to do with binge eating, weight loss, and being nutritionally sound? I want to understand why I can be so in tune with the future “me” in the financial aspect of my life but have extreme difficulty being just as responsible in my eating habits. After all, I want to actually be ALIVE in retirement – no, I want to be more than alive. I want to thrive. And I know every binge episode is going to have negative consequences on reaching that goal. I wish there was a way I could subconsciously connect these two areas… next time I reach for a chocolate chip cookie.
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