Recently the 2014 CrossFit Games concluded to determine the Fittest on Earth. After the competition the four time defending champ, Rich Froning, stated, “We can’t anticipate the events in life…so we do any and everything we can to be ready for what’s thrown at us.”
While most of us will never dream to be the level of fitness these CrossFit Games competitors are at (I was watching the competition while eating a burger on the couch), the idea of preparation can be universal. For these elite level athletes, planning their training sessions, adequately fueling their bodies, and constant monitoring of progress made are essential pieces to reaching their goals. Without having a plan in place and tracking progress, adjusting to unanticipated events become much more difficult of a challenge.
Same goes for retirement planning. Without preparation and a “think ahead” mentality, retirement planning can become a difficult process. So what can be done as we think forward to 2015? It starts with clearly establishing or updating goals and objectives. Each athlete in the CrossFit Games had their own personal goals in mind, just as each participant or employer has their own retirement goals. For participants, it may be identifying a specific dollar amount or a certain percentage of their pre-retirement income they would like their retirement plan to replace. For an employer, goals might be centralized around providing a retirement plan that can appropriately prepare employees for retirement and allow sufficient turnover and advancement opportunities.
Elite athletes understand their training regimen and diet play a central role on their path to reaching goals. For retirement preparation, strategy for growing retirement assets plays the same key role. Once goals are set, participants can have a better idea of what it will take to achieve success.
- Am I deferring enough of my salary to be on track to attaining my goals?
- Am I taking full advantage of the match my employer provides?
- Does the diversification in my investments align with the risk I’m willing to take on?
Questions such as these assist in monitoring progress to align saving habits with retirement goals.
Just as monitoring progress for participants can help create momentum into 2015, employers have an opportunity to visit where their current retirement plan design is compared to the goals and objectives they have in place.
- Does the current plan design meet the employer’s retirement plan goals?
- Is employee participation and savings level where they need it to be?
- Does the retirement plan budget align with the current goals and plan design?
- Are we helping current employees retire to create opportunities for advancement or attracting new talent?
- Are there plan design changes which require a plan amendment that need to be made prior to the start of 2015?
Retirement readiness is unique for each individual and each employer, but the common themes still exists. Set goals and objectives. Plan for what’s needed to reach these goals. Monitor and track progress. While you can’t anticipate all events that will occur on the path to retirement, steps can be taken to prepare and adjust to the hurdles ahead.
When you look forward to 2015, how retirement fit will you be?
***Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. CrossFit Games are the registered mark CrossFit, Inc. and are not affiliated with any member company of the Principal Financial Group®. The subject matter in this communication is provided with the understanding that The Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or accounting obligations and requirements. Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company a member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392. t14080504hb