Even if you are not a baseball fan, you may have read about the Washington Nationals improbable run from a record of 19-31 to the wild card and eventual World Series title. During that run a lot of strange things happened. That Nationals were down 3-2 to the 106 win Dodgers. Miraculously they won the last two to win the series. In the World Series, the Nationals jumped out to a 2 game to 0 lead winning both games in Houston.
Clumsy sportscasters were already planning the parade only to watch in horror as the Nationals dropped the next three at home. Down 3-2 in the series, the Nationals were largely assumed to be done. But low and behold, the Nationals won the next 2 and for the first time in 115 years, no home team won a game in the World Series.
What can this teach us about investing & retirement? The first lesson is to never give up. Whether you got off to a late start, weren’t able to save much early in your career, or ran into some road bumps along the way that forced you to watch your account balance rapidly diminish, it’s not over until it’s over.
The second thing this teaches us is small adjustments can reap huge benefits. They may not be obvious at the time, but increases to contributions, deliberate allocations, budgeting discipline, and realistic expectations can all help towards achieving a successful retirement. Down 0-2, the Astros made some adjustments and got back into the series despite being written off early in the series.
The last thing the series taught us is all things aren’t always as they appear. Maybe your living expenses are going to be considerably less in retirement. Maybe your savings rate will jump up significantly as soon as your student loan debt is paid off. Maybe your health is strong and you plan to work well past the assumed rate of return. As I walked to game five of the series, the reality of Max Sherzer not pitching immediately dimmed expectations for that evening. While the Nationals lost, the silver lining was that Max Sherzer was able to get healthy for game seven and help propel his team to a title. It’s never too late to start doing the right thing and to get your retirement savings in order. #401k #403b #457b