I’ve recently found myself surpassing some financial milestones that I never thought I’d see. Our retirement accounts are at levels that I used to just dream about when I was first starting out. Never underestimate the power of consistent contributions and compound interest, that’s for sure.
As I was sitting here looking over the numbers I started to wonder why I’d always thought these milestones were somewhat impossible to reach. I think a lot of it is because I grew up in an environment where these numbers were unattainable, both due to income levels of my parents and also due to priorities. Had I grown up in a household that was pretty wealthy, the numbers I’m surpassing today would seem relatively insignificant.
As I was staring at the numbers on the screen, I thought to myself, “Hmm, this is more money than my parents had when they were in their 60’s and I’m only 41”. Then I started thinking about how these numbers stack up to what my grandparents had when they were retired. My grandfather was a retired banker and I believe they were pretty diligent savers. While I don’t know their exact numbers, based on what my parents inherited and what we got after they died, I think I have a pretty good idea of what they had saved. Obviously inflation makes those numbers seem like less than they really were 20 years ago, but even when I mentally try to account for that, I’m still trending towards having a lot more wealth in retirement than they did.
Does any of this matter? Nope. It’s completely irrelevant. It makes absolutely no difference how my wealth stacks up to my parents or grandparents but I mentally still find myself playing these games about the numbers. What really matters is whether OUR finances are on target to support OUR future. At our current rate of savings, we are very much on track for a solid retirement. Of course, things could change in an instant. One of us could lose our job tomorrow and be unable to find comparable work for a long time. We could experience a natural disaster that wipes out a lot of our assets. The possibilities are endless. So, we won’t get too excited about our current financial condition and we’ll just keep saving like crazy, while enjoying every day along the way.