I have been creating wooden bowls for many years. The first step in turning a bowl is to gather the materials. The goal is not immediately clear except for the size. It will evolve during the process. After you have gathered the desired materials, the process begins:
The above picture shows the gluing process and the materials are cedar with one board of red oak.
In starting a retirement plan you have to determine what assets are available or to be accumulated to achieve the retirement goal. Retirement planning is not a "one-size-fits-all" process. It has to be specialized and personalized to the individual retiree. But, it is very similar to creating a bowl. You must begin fitting present and future assets into the plan.
After gluing the pieces together, the next step is to mount the project on the lathe and start the balancing process.
Once all the resources for providing for the retirement plan are gathered, a balancing of yields, risks, and maturities must be accomplished in order to develop a plan to take aim on the target goals of the individual. Again, this is specialized and personalized process to fit the individual. The goal in all plans is to make certain that the retirement funds will outlive the retiree. If the individual is already retired, the balancing may need additional adjustments to maintain the desired income stream.
As the bowl is being balanced, and the inside is being formed, much of the material has been removed and the bowl begins to take shape. The final shape will be determined by observing the wood grains to let the wood speak for itself. This is the exciting part...getting a vision of what the final bowl will be.
As the individual's resources are gathered and placed in the plan and provisions made for additional future resources, the projected target for retirement begins to take shape. The planning is not over...it has just begun. As changes occur in the individual's lifetime, and the needs and wants of retirement, the retirement plan must change to fit the circumstances. Just like the wooden bowl, the retirement plan is a work in progress and must take into consideration economic changes and any other unforeseen bumps in the road.
After doing all the "fine-tuning" in finishing the bowl, it is time to enjoy the end result. All the work has been done and the bowl will be used for a lifetime. I never decide to just make a bowl. Many times I just want to make a bowl for someone to give them pleasure. Often, I am asked to turn a bowl for someone for a present. It is never just a bowl...it is a creation for someone special and for a specific purpose.
In one way, retirement plans the same as wooden bowls. Each are specialized and personalized for a particular individual. But, in another way, the retirement plans are much different than wooden bowls. The bowl is used immediately when finished. There will be no future adjustments. The retirement plan will never be finished and in most cases will require many adjustments in the future.
The income stream an individual believes to be adequate today may be inadequate when retirement comes. At the same time, the original needs may exceed the actual needs at, or after, retirement. Not only is it important to have an income stream to outlive retirement, but there must always be a provision for additional funds for emergency and unforeseen wants or needs.
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The most exciting plan for each of us in life, is the plan God has for us. He only wants the very best for each of us. The most important part of His plan is the adjustments we must make in our lives. We must have that personal relationship with Him to receive the blessings of that plan.
Have a great day!