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18 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 2 0 BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS best practices garden, start a new business, or become active in social causes or volunteer opportunities. Whatever you decide to do, you will need money. The traditional term for this is retirement, and we will use this term to describe certain types of savings vehicles, but when it comes to saving for the future, we prefer the term financial independence. We would define financial independence as reaching a point when work becomes optional. The term retirement is a bit reminiscent of a prior era when people worked for 30 years at the same job, clocked out at age 65, received a pension, and then played golf for the rest of their lives. While there is nothing wrong at all with this dream for some, it is not always the reality for everyone today—especially massage therapists. As solo business owners (as most massage therapists are), the typical retirement plans like pensions and 401(k)s are not readily available in the same way. The path to financial independence is up to the individual. There is no one offering a 401(k) with a match that automatically squirrels away money from every paycheck. If you don't save, no one is going to do it for you. For this reason, it's crucial to have a plan. Let's discuss three components to a financial independence plan for massage therapists: how much to save, what tools to use, and how to invest. HOW MUCH TO SAVE So how much do you need to save in order to achieve financial independence? Here's the short answer: "as much as possible." We say this because never in the history of humankind has anyone ever saved "too much" for retirement. So if you want the most basic approach, just save as much as you can. But that's not very scientific, so let's get a little more strategic. Building a Path to Financial Independence By Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds In the September/October column of the Mind Your Money 2020 series, we covered creating long-term goals. Now that we've discussed cash flow, taxes, practice-planning, and a number of other money topics, where do we go from here? What's the end game? While you are likely passionate about the work you do, there will come a time when you are ready for something different. You may want to scale back your hours and work with a few select clients who bring you joy. You may want to close or sell your practice and spend more time with family and friends. You may want to travel,

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