Between a nice retirement and a thoughtful legacy!

Warren Buffett is a wealthy, very wealthy man. There is no question that when it comes to the world of investing, Mr. Buffett is at the top of the list. Depending upon who is counting, he is the fourth wealthiest man in the world.

Warren Buffett is also a philanthropist, a very generous charitable donor and sponsor of countless charities through his family foundation. He has pledged that 99% of the wealth he has accumulated will go to charity at his death. Obviously, his wife and children will be well taken care of. But, the main beneficiary of his continuing to work and invest wisely in well-managed companies at the advanced age of 84 will be America’s charities and the people whose lives these charities touch.

We must conclude that here is a man who has a blessed and well-balanced life. The “Oracle of Omaha,” as he is called, has accumulated his great wealth by investing in companies he has thoroughly researched and concluded that they have a good business plan and have a good management team in place for future growth.

Besides being very generous with his wealth, Mr. Buffett is also generous with his words of wisdom. The following are some nuggets we have gathered from his stream of advice for balancing our lives for retirement and beyond.

1.  Think and act long-term, not short-term. This is as true for investing for retirement as it is for your spiritual life. All too many of us are short-sighted and impatient. The wise investor thinks of the long-term value of the stock, not the splashy get-rich-quick promises of the prospectus. Does the company behind the stock have good management and staying power in its field? If so, then it is a company worth investing in.

Remember the panic of 2008 when the market crashed and people sold off their holdings?  The investors who stayed in the market for the long haul were able to recover their losses and benefit from the rebound. They were able to continue their planning for a prosperous retirement.

For these same people, their long-term thinking is now enabling them to plan beyond themselves. What will be the footprint they will be leaving in the sands of time? How will their children, grandchildren and favorite charities remember them? This will be part of the legacy they leave behind them and by which they will be remembered.

2.  Develop a plan for your life. What gives meaning to your life? Determine what it is that makes you feel fulfilled. Then do it!
Leaving the work that occupied your days is an ongoing process, not an end unto itself. Why is it that retirees often lose their health when they quit working and don’t have something specific to do each day? It is because their lives no longer have a focus and a meaning. They hadn’t developed a plan for their lives beyond their present work.

And the solution is?? To determine what you want to do with your life, preferably before you retire! But definitely to have a plan.  Make your retirement simply a new stage in your life, rather than an end to your working years.

3.  Everyone makes mistakes at some time during their lives. So have you. Learn from your mistakes! Don’t repeat your mistakes and certainly don’t repeat the mistakes of others.

When the stock market crashed in 2008 and 2009, many people panicked and sold their shares at the bottom of the market. These queasy investors locked in their losses.  Buying high and selling low is not the way to plan for retirement. If those would-be investors had been patient and been willing to wait it out for a few years, they would have seen tremendous gains.

The lesson to be learned here? Don’t panic just because other people are panicking.  Observe and pay attention to the mistakes other people are making, but don’t repeat their mistakes. When you learn from the mistakes of others, you are less likely to repeat them.

A BIG mistake people make, even when they have invested wisely and accumulated considerable wealth – enough to secure for themselves and their families a comfortable retirement – is to not put in writing an estate plan.

Nobody knows what is in your mind or can guess what is in your heart. So put in writing what you want done with what you have spent your lifetime accumulating. There are so many good ways to support what has been most meaningful to you during your life. Don’t make the mistake of not exploring the estate planning tools available to you and of implementing them by putting your wishes in writing.

4.  Everyone who loves their children and grandchildren and wants to leave them something tangible and valuable in their estate plan. Perhaps they hope that in this way they, in turn, will be remembered as loving and caring parents and grandparents.

But don’t be so concerned about doing this that you neglect your own retirement and can’t enjoy it as much as you might like. One of the most valuable gifts you can leave your family members is the gift of their own independence. There are so many instances in which the prospect of a substantial inheritance has sapped the will and the desire of children and grandchildren to live independently.

It is far better to be able to provide opportunities for others by including your favorite charities in your  estate planning. This way you can pass on the spiritual inspiration and support that has meant so much to you. And knowing that this is a support that is not limited to one person’s lifetime. It can continue on into the future. This is what Ananda will be providing to many truthseeking souls in the decades to come.

For more information about how to support the future of Ananda, please contact Parvati Hansen at the Janaka Foundation office: