Hollywood can inspire you to save more in your 401(k) for retirement

Retirement saving is vital – and easy to put off. Distractions abound, especially this time of year.

People regularly cop to prioritizing holiday spending over saving. Gifts are tangible. It’s easy to see the return on your investment! Short-term splurges can easily win out if you don’t feel your retirement needs and wants in your bones.

Happily, Hollywood can help.

You can learn loads from comedy characters. Such as Jack Colton, hero of 1984’s romantic comedy-adventure “Romancing the Stone,” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

He had a lifelong dream of owning a sailboat. Never wavered. Even while hiding from a hostile foreign army and getting entangled in a crazy criminal treasure hunt, he never lost sight of his dream. Spoiler alert: He achieved it. 

Retirement savers need their own inner Jack Colton: a purpose they can’t be distracted from. Only when you have your personal “why” for retirement will you actually execute a saving-and-investment strategy to get there. To divine your purpose for saving, you need a clear vision of yourself in retirement. I don’t mean envisioning yourself with more gray, wrinkles and extra paunch. Rather, imagine your future life through three questions.

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What’s on your “bucket list”?

In 2007’s poignant buddy comedy, “The Bucket List”, Carter (Morgan Freeman) and Edward (Jack Nicholson) share a hospital room after receiving cancer diagnoses. Carter makes a “bucket list” of things to do before he dies, then throws it away, deeming his goals unattainable. But wealthy Edward finds the list, offers to finance a trip for them both to complete it, and off they go.

Carter has goals but no savings. Edward is the opposite – wealth, but no goals. The ideal retirement spot is smack in between. Goals in mind, money in hand. To get there, write your bucket list. Get your goals on paper. Then prioritize them. Visualize what steps you must take to get there – and how satisfying reaching those goals will be. Building this connection with your future self helps you stay dedicated. 

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