As an advisor in the greatest country in the world, I’m blessed to work with fantastic clients. They have long aspired to a work optional lifestyle. Some chose to work part-time or volunteer for incredible causes. But most are fully retired, traveling the country, hiking, biking, enjoying family and grandkids, attending sporting events, pursuing hobbies, boating, skiing… the list goes on.

Was it pure luck that landed these clients in such a great spot? I can tell you with 100% confidence that all of them are where they are because they envisioned it. They planned to become financially independent years ago. Very few inherited their wealth, they scrimped, saved, and invested. Not in bonds, but in stocks They invested in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and index funds. They got all the free money they could from their employers. Too many Americans leave free money on the table every paycheck by not contributing to their company retirement plan.

The clients I work with focused on paying themselves first. Getting their free match from their employers and increasing their savings amount each year. Was it difficult some years? You betcha! But sticking to a vision of retirement got them to where they are today.

Yes, some of them have pensions, but most of them do not. They live on Social Security and a reasonable paycheck. They are debt-free. They buy slightly used cars. Many of them don’t have the latest gadgets. They aren’t flashy and they are fiscally conservative.

Yet, there are many naysayers in America. Those who have given up faith in our stock markets and who own less and less stocks in American companies; even though the market is up almost 406% since 20091. Living in a country where you can buy a home with an interest rate under 4%2 is truly amazing. I know, I know, bank CDs are hovering under 1%3 and are trailing inflation. But did you know that the current dividend in the stock market is higher than what you can receive from most bank CDs4? Truly amazing.

Let’s make retirement great again. Pay yourself first. Get all of the free money in your 401k. Build a retirement plan that covers Estate, Financial, Investment, Risk, Tax, and Education Planning. Work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner (CFP® for short) And get yourself on track today! Together, we can make retirement great again.