Basketball ball, basketball hoop.


It’s that time of year again – MARCH MADNESS!

Those who know me well, know that I absolutely love this time of year. The culmination of the basketball season is, for those good enough, an invitation to participate in perhaps the ultimate tournament showcase. It only happens once a year and seems to captivate the entire nation.

In fact, there have been estimates done that March Madness costs businesses nearly $2b in lost productivity in private businesses alone. (Those figures do not account for government employees.) 56% of those surveyed by MSN admit they will likely spend at least one hour of the workday (just their workday!) updating brackets, checking scores, etc.

While I understand the captivation behind the tournament (after all, I always tend to keep my schedule light the first two days of the tournament), there are other statistics that make the time spent on creating and updating a bracket more startling.

Studies have been conducted in the past by several financial firms to determine how much time is spent planning for vacation or even buying a car vs. planning for retirement. Incredibly, time and time again, people reported spending more time on both over planning for their retirement. In fact, over a third of those responding to surveys admitted to spending less than an hour researching investment options.

Now, maybe that one-third does not have investments. Maybe they’ve hired an investment advisor to recommend investments to them. Unfortunately, the survey does not dig that deep.

Here’s the thing, though. While March Madness and vacations are fun and it’s important to have a vehicle you like and feel safe in, for most people, retirement will take up nearly one-third of your life. Think about that for a second. The thing that you will experience for the most amount of time, retirement, is the thing that falls behind an annual vacation or purchasing a car that you might keep 5-10 years. Something needs to change.

If you don’t fall into the category discussed here, congratulations and keep up the good work! If you do fall into the above description, it’s time to become a bit more focused on your investments and retirement planning. The more time you put it off, the harder you’ll find it will become to achieve your goals.

Some easy steps to take to help move the retirement needle:

  1. Have a goal. Decide when you want to retire and what kind of lifestyle you would like in retirement.
  2. Have a plan. Whether you work with a financial planner (which obviously I recommend) or do it alone, you should have a plan on how to achieve your goal.
  3. Follow your plan. While it’s good to have a goal and a plan, without implementing the plan, you’re not going to move the needle.

Now, obviously the above steps are oversimplified, but they will give you a good starting point on your retirement journey. Speak with a financial planner to help guide you through the journey. Plan for retirement like it’s more important than purchasing a car, going on vacation or winning your tournament pool.