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Balance is Key to Retirement Success

October 8, 2022

Marcel LeBlanc, CFP®, CIM®


Learning to balance how you allocate your resources is one of the best ways to get ahead financially.


A good life has a lot to do with how well you can balance things. Lately, I’ve been much more aware of the impact my various consumption has on my personal goals. I’ve noticed that all good things require some prioritizing and balancing of my available resources like time, energy, and money. For example, if one of my goals is to reduce the amount of waste I produce, I must invest time and energy into changing what products I use and the habits that impact this goal. When it comes to wealth accumulation and retirement planning, few things will help you get ahead more than finding a good balance in allocating your financial resources.


The balance I’m referring to here is the willingness to divide your financial resources to serve both current and future financial needs. Lifestyle expenses, short term wants and needs, debt reduction, long term accumulation, growth investments are all examples of where you can choose to spend your financial resources. You also get to choose how much of your hard-earned dollars you spend in each category. When it comes to balancing your finances in favour of future success, the main differentiator is the amount you spend on lifestyle expenses compared to your spending on things designed to help grow your personal net worth. I call this the Build Ratio.


The Build Ratio helps you measure how well you’re balancing your spending on things that help you benefit in the future like retirement savings and debt reduction versus things that benefit you in the short term like lifestyle expenses versus things. In essence, it tells how much of your cash flow you are putting towards improving your personal net worth (accumulating financial assets and lowering debt) compared to how much of it you’re putting elsewhere. It answers the classic “Am I doing enough to achieve my goals?” question. Someone with a low Build Ratio will be more tilted towards spending on immediate needs like paying the bills. Someone with a high Build Ratio will be tilted towards accumulation and things that will benefit them in the future like saving and paying off debt.


Finding your balance towards a better Build Ratio pays dividends in more ways than one. It gets you closer to your retirement goal from the very moment you start applying it. If you begin lowering lifestyle expenses to increase your accumulation efforts, not only are you increasing your financial position, but you’ve also adapted to spending less. This means that the amount you need accumulated to sustain your lifestyle at retirement should be less. Which makes your goal much more achievable. It’s a real win-win.


Like rebalancing other aspects of your life, start by assessing where you are now and where you would like to go. How are you tilted now and how can you start shifting towards a better Build Ratio? The key takeaway is that you recognize that there’s a balance to be found between what you want now with what you will need tomorrow.


Author:

Marcel LeBlanc, CFP®, CIM® is a Financial Planner and Associate Portfolio Manager with Louisbourg Investments. You can find more from him on Facebook and LinkedIn. Comments or questions may be submitted to Marcel at marcel.leblanc@louisbourg.net, or he may be reached at (506) 383-5204



More articles from Marcel LeBlanc:

The Importance of a Good Backup (Financial) Plan

When Is the Best Time to Invest in Markets?


This writing is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, accounting, tax or personalized financial advice. If you are not sure how to proceed with a request for further information, seek help from a professional. Any opinions expressed are my own and may not necessarily reflect those of Louisbourg Investments.

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