THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER - Bluestone Financial
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THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

November 19, 2020 | Memo

Once upon a time, in ancient Greece, there lived a slave, who was a storyteller. His name was Aesop, and the wisdom of his stories hold true to this day; we know them as Aesop’s Fables. You’ve heard the one about The Ant and The Grasshopper.

The grasshopper watches the ant working diligently all summer long, making a home and gathering food for the winter. Thinking the ant a fool, the grasshopper spends his summer playing in the sun and consuming whatever food he finds. When winter arrives, the ant is warm and well fed, cozy in her shelter, while the poor grasshopper starves out in the cold.

Research shows that Canadians are good at emulating the ant. According to a recent study by Mackenzie Financial, on average, retired Canadians left the workforce at age 57 And they currently have $427,000 in savings and investments.

According to Frederick Vettese’s research, reported in his book, “The Essential Retirement Guide”, nearly 90 percent of Canadians dying after age 85 had not exhausted their assets.

Seventy-five per cent of the working Canadians Mackenzie Financial surveyed believe they will have to work to age 62 and will need $878,000 to retire. Interesting, today’s workers plan to work longer and retire richer.

Work hard and save hard. Just like the ant. Is that all there is to it?

The wisdom in Aesop’s Fable is actually more complex, more subtle. Recall, the grasshopper had a nice life, playing in the sun and eating lots of food. The ant, on the other hand, toiled and sacrificed. For sure, the ant lived better in retirement, but the grasshopper lived better before retirement. Aesop is trying to tell us to emulate both, the ant and the grasshopper. Find the optimal balance between playing and spending, and working and saving.

Embracing this more complex and richer wisdom is more important than ever before. None of us is ever just a worker, or just a retiree. We are all on the amazing journey called life. And the new reality is we are living longer, and our children will live longer still.

Yet, life is fragile. In “The Essential Retirement Guide”, Frederick Vettese writes, “the average person has little better than a 50-50 chance of making it from age 50 to 70 without dying or incurring a critical illness.” That’s a pretty sobering statistic, giving pause for thought.

The great secret of is to live fully, every day. And prepare for tomorrow.

Your life, our life, is probably much more the way it really is supposed to be than we fully appreciate. Our task is to embrace life, as it is, and live every day fully engaged. Just like the grasshopper.

At the same time, know that your life has meaning. You are here for a reason. Take good care of yourself, be productive, and prudently prepare for your future. Just like the ant.

This memo was prepared solely by Terry and Patty Rempel who are registered representatives of FundEX (a member of the Mutual Funds Dealers Association of Canada and the MFDA Investor Protection Corporation). The views and opinions, including any recommendations, expressed in this memo are those of Terry and Patty Rempel. Bluestone Financial is a personal trade name of Terry and Patty Rempel.

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