There are moments when we may wish we could go back in time and tell ourselves what the future holds. If only we knew, we could avoid regrettable decisions and embrace an even better future. Although, as far as we know, we can’t go back in time and messages can’t be sent to the past, there are plans we can put in place and messages we can send for the future.

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As the holiday season approaches, you may be creating a list of things to purchase for friends and family. It can be challenging to think of the things you want now, and identifying the things you’ll need in the future is no less of a challenge.

Beyond the gifts you’re getting for everyone else, it may be worthwhile to consider what you will give yourself. You might consider gifting yourself a maximum retirement contribution this year. According to a Gallup poll earlier this year, people are planning to retire later and later, and the average age of retirement is up to 61 from 57. Although it is possible that people are enjoying working more, the shift is more likely due to the concern that they will lack the needed funds in retirement. Let’s say you’re 21-years-old and writing a message to yourself 40 years in the future, just as you are planning to retire. What would you want to tell yourself? Would you remind yourself of all the great things you did now to set yourself up for success in the future?

When considering what an investment could be worth in the future, according to Arvest’s investment calculator, a $6,000 investment with a 7% return compounded annually would be worth $89,846.75 in 40 years. That’s a pretty big gift of $83,846.75 for delaying gratification and the usage of the funds over all those years. Even if you only have 30 years to grow the investment, it could grow to $45,673.53, with a gift of $39,673.53 in investment gains. Clearly, there is more growth in the last 10 years than the first 30 years so the earlier you give that gift, the larger it may be.

If you gave yourself that same gift every year, contributed to a Roth IRA, Arvest’s Roth calculator shows that a 7% return could make it worth $1,281,657.48. Considering the $240,000 capital investment over those forty years, your gift could grow to over 1 million dollars!

Consider how your decisions now may impact your future-self and lifestyle.  Would your future-self look back and thank you for all the hard work you’ve done to create the opportunity to retire at age 61? Or would your future-self thank you for making sure your kids could have a college education with less of a loan burden, so they have a head start in life? Perhaps you would be thanking yourself for the peace of mind you experienced knowing your family and income would be protected should the worst happen.

All too often we do not show ourselves any gratitude, even though we are often our greatest benefactor. We focus on the problems in front of us, and brush aside the problems we’ve already solved or that don’t need immediate attention. Small sacrifices can lead to large progress in our lives, and a long-term financial plan is the gift that keeps on giving. It exists in the background, doing just a little of your work for you, so you can focus on the present, knowing your future self will be taken care of too.

These are all gifts you give yourself, and they are all sacrifices your present self is making to ensure your future self has a happier, more fulfilled future. They are also all part of what an Arvest Wealth Management Client Advisor can help you accomplish over a lifetime with a complete, long-term financial plan.

Contact us if you’d like to get started retirement planning early, while it can make the biggest impact.

This content has been prepared by The Merrill Anderson Company and is intended as a general guideline.

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