As originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post on March 2, 2017
This weekend marks my 17th wedding anniversary. On Shabbat we read the Torah portion of Teruma. One of the topics discussed is the showbread used in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. The loaves of bread were baked on Friday and only on Saturday were they put on display, replacing the old bread. What is very interesting is that it’s not fresh bread replacing old bread, rather it’s “day old” bread that is used. In modern times “day-old” bread is sold at a discount, if not thrown out. It’s hard to imagine that that is what would be used in the holy Tabernacle, and then kept there all week. In the Talmud tractate Chagigah 26b, the showbread is discussed. The Sages teach that this bread was given out to the priests during the 9 days after it was baked. A miracle took place as the bread was as fresh and warm as when it was baked.
I would like to wish my wife a happy anniversary and that we should merit a marriage like the showbread. That it doesn’t get stale and old but rather we continue to relate to each other with the same excitement and optimism for the future that we had at the time of our wedding, and like the bread, it stays warm and fresh until 120!
Okay enough emotions! This is a personal finance column. I could have posted that little blessing on Facebook and gotten hundreds of likes. Why waste this precious space in the Jerusalem Post on stale bread in the Tabernacle and my wedding anniversary? What on earth does any of this have to do with your investments?
As I often write I am a big believer in goals-based investing. That means a client should measure their progress towards specific life goals such as saving for children’s education, marrying off children or building a retirement nest-egg, rather than focusing on generating the highest possible portfolio return or beating the market. Do you remember back to when you got married? Before life took over and your most philosophical conversation became where to buy the cheapest diapers or whether to use thick or thin dental floss? Back when you were engaged you used to speak about life goals and dreams. As life takes over, more often than not those goals and dreams become a distant memory.
For investors this is bad news. In order to keep a portfolio fresh and updated, investors need to redefine goals and needs every now and then. If you are nearing retirement and you have the same portfolio you had 25 years earlier, you may be investing in a way that is way more aggressive than recommended. If you are nearing retirement and you have given no thought to how you plan on spending time during retirement and how much that will cost, you may be in for a very rude awakening a few years down the road when you start running down your principal. I can’t stress enough the importance of planning your retirement. Obviously the financial aspect of retirement is critical to plan for, but filling up the day in a meaningful way is even more important. Speak to other retirees to understand how they made the transition from working to this new chapter in their life. Remember back to when you were engaged you sought advice from others newly married? Well it’s the same concept.
Getting back to defining goals and needs, a few years before you are set to retire start speaking with your spouse about how you view retirement. Realize that travel isn’t a full retirement plan. You will need to figure out a plan on how to spend your time. Once you do that then you will need to figure out how much money you will need to fund your retirement.
Use the example of the showbread to re-energize your marriage, turn back the clock and start dreaming again. Use this time to redefine goals and needs and get your portfolio allocated so that you can achieve what you set out to accomplish.
Happy Anniversary Yael!
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Aaron Katsman is author of the book Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing (McGraw-Hill), and is a licensed financial professional both in the United States and Israel, and helps people who open investment accounts in the United States. Securities are offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. (www.prginc.net). Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. For more information, call (02) 624-0995 visit www.aaronkatsman.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.