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The Lost Years Club

“If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you’ll wind up somewhere else.” – A Wise Pooh Bear

If you aren’t clear about where you are, and where you are going—financially-speaking, we get it. We understand what it’s like to be foggy about such things; we see it every day. People spend years—decades even!—lost in this fog. They are members of what Lee Eisenberg in his book, The Number, calls the Lost Years Club.

Did you know that only 64% of workers between the age of 55 and 64 have saved an amount equal to one year of income, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. One year!

So what happened during the preceding 3-4 decades? The Lost Years, that’s what.

The Lost Years begin as most young adults are getting their feet under them —focused rightfully on navigating their careers and establishing committed relationships then beginning to grow their family units (Not always in that order. We don’t judge.) Lives naturally default into “survival mode.”

During these years it’s easy to slip casually into the Lost Years Club, firmly establishing one’s membership. Keeping up with the Joneses, literally buying into the mindset of ‘nothing is too good for my kiddos’, new cars, new homes. All part of establishing your adult identity via lifestyle. All natural components of the human condition. But what about your future self? How is that person going to survive?

A recent paper written by Michael Finke, contributing editor at Research Magazine and Terrance Martin, professor at the University of Texas-Pan American, finds that estimating how much workers will need to save for retirement can have a big impact on retirement savings. Simply going through the process of figuring out how much they have and what they’ll need forces them to face reality. They also find that those with a financial advisor who calculated retirement needs had saved 2.5 times more for retirement. So…there’s that.

You have 40 years to fund a 30-year retirement.

How’s that for a big gulp of “let’s get real?” Seems like plenty of time, right? Well, indeed it is, if you start early. But you probably knew that already. Have you started? If not, why not?

It’s important for most young and middle-age savers to recognize a few things about members of the Lost Years Club:

  • They accumulate more debt than wealth.
  • They have more stuff than savings.
  • They pay—or worse, go into debt—for their children’s education before they save for themselves.
  • They have a better car than health/life insurance.
  • They give up an employer’s matching contribution to a retirement plan (free money!) instead of working within a budget.
  • They spend more time planning their next vacation than planning their retirement.
  • And they are busy. Very, very busy. Or tired. Too tired.


Here, at the Wealth StudioTM, there’s little that inspires us more than giving folks the thumbs-up for retirement. Especially after years and years of working and planning for it. It never gets old.

Watching folks transition into their future-selves, some are tentative, others enthusiastic, some exuberant. It’s not always an easy transition. But, like watching a baby take its first steps, it’s joyful. It’s fulfilling.

Those who can successfully plan for the future while living for today are going to find themselves very happy souls come the time to re-focus and re-purpose their lives. Very happy, indeed.

At ZeroCelsius Wealth Studio we help people revoke their membership in the Lost Years Club by shining through the fog of financial uncertainty. We help them dream. We plan. We get real. We plan some more. We work it out.

And you know what? It works.

We are way-finders. We’re with you every step of the way; occasionally pointing out your milestones so you can get back to living out your story knowing the final chapter has been drafted — financially-speaking, of course.

Insight, Planning

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