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The Kill Bill Guide to Saving for Retirement

Audio Version

March 14, 2013

Financial institutions, including big name retirement plan administrators, spend millions of dollars developing marketing plans designed to get us to save for retirement. To help put their plans into action they employ consultants who use behavioral economics research to understand why and how we make financial decisions. These financial institutions could save a lot of their own money if they hired Beatrix (Bea) Kiddo as a motivational speaker instead.

Who is Beatrix Kiddo? She is the lead character in the classic Quentin Tarantino movie,
Kill Bill Vol. 1. Now Tarantino's movies are not for everyone. They contain a crazy amount of violence, profanity, and absurdity. But sometimes they contain life lessons worth noting. Take for example the three lines Bea utters when she begins her quest to kill Bill.

"Wiggle your big toe." "Hard part's over." "Now, let's get these other piggies wiggling."

Some background: Bea has not walked in four years because Bill and his friends put her in a coma. She needs to get moving if she is going to have her revenge. Her quest begins with something as simple as wiggling her big toe. You see Bea knows that accomplishing something monumental starts with one small movement. The same is true of saving for retirement.

Too often when it comes to saving for retirement, we freeze. Afraid, confused, and conflicted. Afraid to think about what our non-work life will be like… Confused about the complicated investment and tax terminology in retirement plan documents. Conflicted over whether to spend our hard earned money on current needs or future ones. So, how could Bea help us wake up from our retirement savings coma?

Her advice would go something like this:
  • Acknowledge your feelings of fear, confusion and conflict regarding saving for retirement. It is okay to be apprehensive at first; you just have to move past these feelings.
  • Create a list of obstacles to saving for retirement and develop a plan to address each one. For example, low pay is a legitimate obstacle to saving for retirement. It is also one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. Life may dictate that you stop saving from time to time to meet other financial obligations. But remember that stopping temporarily is not an excuse to stop forever.
  • Get informed about the retirement savings options that are available to you. Find out if your employer offers a retirement savings plan and enroll. If not, consider contributing to an Individual Retirement Account or other investment account. Sounds complicated? It’s not. Enrolling in an employer’s plan or other investment account is as simple as speaking with a plan representative and filling out a few forms. People just as confused as you are enroll in retirement savings plans every day. If they can do it, so can you. (More on how to enroll…)
The hardest part about saving for retirement is summoning the energy and will to take that first step. The good news is that once you make that first move, the hardest part is over.
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References:

Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Miramax Films, A Band Apart, Super Cool ManChu, 2003.
Thurman, Uma, perf. Kill Bill: Vol.1. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Miramax Films, A Band Apart, Super Cool ManChu, 2003.
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