We have all heard the phrase, “READY! AIM! FIRE!”. I would imagine it is universally accepted that the phrase describes a prudent process of firing during battle. You wouldn’t want to shoot then aim, similar to how you shouldn’t change lanes, then look, or, fart, then make sure nobody is around.
The idea of firing before aiming brings up a lack of discipline and a process which is likely not the most preferred. But, what if I told you that – when used in the context of investing for a financial slacker – it can save you over six figures in your retirement?
Here is my idea to help aid the financial slackers of the world!
Defining READY! AIM! FIRE!
First, let us define each of the three steps and what they pertain to.
- READY! = Deciding how much you can save towards retirement each month
- AIM! = Doing the research:
- Finding the most favorable tax treated accounts
- Finding the proper funds and/or investment strategy
- Discovering your preferred investment asset classes and allocation
- Figuring out your risk tolerance.
- FIRE! = Doing the paperwork and making the calls to establish your accounts so you can start, then automate, the process.
In order to help the financial slackers and non-action takers of the world, the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy can be used. The strategy was created so that the AIM! step doesn’t prevent you from postponing your retirement savings.
Before we get into the strategy, we will go over who this strategy can help, and what is protects you from.
The financial slacker and the perfectionist
I would argue that most people don’t get held up on the READY! step. Many people can decide the amount they are willing to save each month. Even if they overestimate the figure, or underestimate the figure, they can easily change their savings rate without major repercussions.
Unfortunately, the financial slacker usually is held up on AIM!. The AIM! step requires research and problem solving. Many people just find this excruciating, and it leads to their procrastination.
While the financial slacker can benefit from this retirement strategy, it may also benefit some of the perfectionists out there. Sometimes, perfectionism just leads you down a road of non-action. In retirement planning, the perfectionist likely wants to create the perfect retirement strategy.
The problem is, it can take a long time to make it perfect – it could take you years of reading and research in your free time before you finally figure out the perfect solution. By the time you execute that perfect solution, you can lose years of returns.
In the words of Barney Stinson, “…I’m teaching you how to do, do, do.”
What I’m trying to get through to you can be summed up in a conversation between, Ted Mosby, and, Barney Stinson, in the hit show How I Met Your Mother (one of my favorite shows).
Barney basically tells Ted he thinks too much and he should stop thinking and start doing. Barney says, “Ted, your problem is all you do is think, think, think…I’m teaching you how to do, do, do.”
Mind you, Barney was trying to get Ted to drink five shots, and I’m trying to get you to avoid this financial procrastination without alcohol. But, I still think this mantra can help jump-start your savings and prevent further non-action. 😉
So, screw the perfectionism, quit the slacking, and listen to Barney Stinson; don’t think, just do.
So far, we have defined our two segments of the population this strategy will be suited for: the financial slacker and the non-action perfectionist.
Now, let us discover what the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy is designed for.
It’s not designed to be efficient, it’s designed to save your ass.
The READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy isn’t designed to be the most tax effective, technologically advanced, alpha capturing, Nobel Prize winning, portfolio strategy ever created. It is not designed to be efficient; it is designed to save your ass.
What does it save your ass from, you may ask?
It saves your ass from catatonic compounding. That’s right, I just made up a phrase.
Catatonic compounding is the defined as the following:
When an individual becomes so overwhelmed and discombobulated by the foreign language of investing, they slip into a financial catatonic state and brush-off investing for retirement, losing out on tens of thousands of dollars of compounding.
Catatonic compounding is what happens when you hate money and organization, and just say, screw it, I’ll figure this out next year. The problem is, you are a financial slacker, so catatonic compounding isn’t solved that next year. It keeps on going and going and going…
For this, we make the strategy as simple as possible.
Two steps for setting up the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy.
- Email this statement to your HR department
- “Hello, I would like to know if we have a retirement plan and if it offers a match? If it does, I would like to fund the plan up to the match. Please tell me what I need to do to set this up.”
- Email this statement to your HR department
- This step has two options:
- Option 1 – Setup an account with a Roboadvisor. I suggest M1 Finance. You can sign-up here for M1 Finance then add your money to the VOO fund. Boom. Done.
- Option 2 – Call this phone number for Vanguard: 1-877-662-7447
- Say the words, “I would like to setup a brokerage account and add money monthly to your S&P 500 index fund VOO.”
- This step has two options:
That is it. That is the strategy. Just save up to your company retirement plan match, then throw the rest of your money in one of those two accounts.
And don’t come around saying this is bad advice because you have to add money to a Roth IRA, or you need to max out your 401k, or you need to invest in a proper asset allocation of stocks and bonds.
This strategy is for the financial slackers and those who don’t take action. It is supposed to save their asses so that, when they get the appropriate age where they start finally realizing how important this stuff is, they didn’t miss out on tens of thousands of dollars of compounding.
I’m trying to save them so they have plenty of money to add to whatever IRA, Roth IRA, 401k, 403b, 401A, whatever accounts they decide they need in the future.
Related article I wrote: M1 Finance – The First Sexy Robo-Advisor?
How much money does this save you from losing?
These tables show what the READY! FIRE! AIM! strategy saves your ass from.
Let us take two individuals, both age 25. One of the individuals uses the READY! FIRE! AIM! strategy, and the other is subject to catatonic compounding. This is what happens to those two individuals by age 30, assuming a savings of $500 monthly and a 6% return.
The man who used the READY! FIRE! AIM! strategy
The financial slacker subject to catatonic compounding
I’m sure you are not very surprised the person who started investing early has more money. Now, let us peer into the future, starting from the time the financial slacker starts investing at age 30. We will see how much more money the guy who used the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy has compared to guy who didn’t use it. We will assume the same 6% interest rate with $500 saved monthly.
The man who did NOT use the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy.
The man who used the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy.
There you have it. The gentleman who did not use the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy grew his money to $502,257 at age 60. The gentleman who used the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement strategy grew his money to $712,335 at age 60. That is a difference of $210,078! Hopefully you now understand why I think it is so important for you to just start SOMETHING. Even if it is not the most efficient way to start saving.
Of course I am going to reference the fact that the word “FIRE!” is in the strategy. I mean, it’s dangling like a carrot!
In relation to the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early), the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement can shave years off your future FIRE goals. Imagine how much quicker you will reach financial independence if you prevent the loss of the early years of catatonic compounding!
Much better to start off with an account balance when you start heading towards that FIRE. I am sure there are many proponents of FIRE who wish they had a better base to start with. This is how you can create your base.
Here is an example of a girl the same age as the gentleman above. At age 25, she was subject to catatonic compounding and didn’t begin her savings until she was 30. This is what a 6% interest rate at $500 per week grows to by age 45.
Here is an example of a girl the same age as the gentleman above who used the READY! FIRE! AIM! retirement. She built up an account balance by age 30, and this shows her growth from age 30 to age 45. Assuming a 6% interest rate at $500 per week.
There you have it. If you begin your journey towards retiring early at age 45, the READY! FIRE! AIM! strategy gives you an extra $85,611. When it comes to retiring early, every dollar counts on your journey towards FIRE.
Now, go do it
That’s it – it is so easy. It may not be the most efficient way to save for retirement and there may be better tax efficient ways to do it. But, when you find yourself in a state of catatonic compounding, this is the only way to save you.
If you are a financial slacker, the more I write, the less you will read. I am done.
Go now, hurry, do the two steps, the advice is worth well over $100,000 extra in your retirement and I don’t want you to end up like this Barney Stinson!
Thanks for reading!
No, no need to thank me! Oh, you are too kind!
Disclaimer: These are the ideas and opinions of the author. The author is not responsible for the actions of those who read the posts on this blog. Each individual reader has a unique situation and unique needs. This blog is not intended to solve those unique situations of the readers. This blog is not liable for decisions made by the readers of this blog.
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