If you have stayed at a Westin Hotel, you're likely to have enjoyed a wonderful night's sleep. Years ago, Westin decided that they wanted to have a bed that stood out from all of the rest (no pun intended). Making your stay with them as comfortable (or more so) than sleeping at home, you would want to stay at a Westin during every trip. While the beds cost significantly more than those at most other hotels, the decision has certainly paid off for them.
In May, my wife Heidi and I took a whirlwind tour of New England. We stayed in a new room nearly every night for a week. While we were traveling, I told Heidi that even with all of the driving and room changes, I had slept remarkably well. For the most part she agreed. However, she felt that one of the rooms had a fairly stiff bed that wasn’t that comfortable. She also reminded me that she’s been telling me for years that we should get a new bed to enjoy this type of comfort at home, but that I didn’t think that a quality bed made that much of a difference.
Our first night home I quickly noticed how uncomfortable our bed was. That night I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and woke up tired with a sore back. Maybe after all of these years, Heidi was right…when will I learn? I decided it was time to eat some humble pie, admit the error of my ways, and buy a new bed. Luckily, Heidi’s not one to say, “I told you so.”
Having experienced the comfort of the Westin’s bed, I contacted them to find out where I could buy one. After I got off the phone, Heidi and I hopped into our car, went straight to the mall, and made our way to the Heavenly Bed™. Being Memorial Day weekend, we decided to shop other options to see if anything comparable was on sale. In the end we found another bed that was on sale for just a little more than the Heavenly, but was a step or two better in quality.
Since the purchase of our new bed, we have slept like babies. Our backs have felt more relaxed and we seem less tense and irritable than before. The upgraded bed truly was a heavenly decision.
As we experienced this change, I started thinking about other aspects of our lives that should be heavenly. We’ve been meaning to make improvements around the home and make areas of our lives more organized, so we decided to change things one step at a time. As we complete each task, we ask ourselves, “What else can we make heavenly?” This has been a gradual process that has been paying big rewards.
The current economic downturn has shifted the focus many of us have had from worrying about what we don’t have to appreciating what we have. I’m hearing people say that they don’t like their job or they’re going to get a pay reduction, but at least they have a job. People are staying in more frequently and spending more time as a family than we have in decades.
While we’re thankful for what we do have, many of us have been stressing over the decline of the stock market. Comparing their current statements with the one they received in October 2007 (the all-time market high), people worry that they may never be able to retire. If you are one of those people, I suggest that you take a step back and a deep breath. Ask yourself what you truly want. What will give you a heavenly retirement?
Without being overly philosophical, life should be good for your soul. You should do those things you enjoy, that give you energy, and that fulfill you. You may find that retirement doesn’t have to be extravagant to be enjoyable. As you’ve seen over the past year, spending time with the ones you love, doing the hobbies you enjoy, and living in a comfortable/relaxing environment is truly the key.
This is the time to reassess your plans for the future. Create a target that will give you a heavenly retirement and calculate how much you’ll need to have saved in order to achieve that lifestyle. You may find that you’re not as far off from the mark as you think. At the very least, you’ll know what you need to save in order to reach your goal.
Remember to look at the big picture as you create your plan. In order to have a truly heavenly lifestyle, you need to review your current finances (cash reserves/cash flow), your insurance needs, your investment allocation, your retirement goal, tax strategies, and estate planning. If you lack the time, knowledge, desire, or discipline to do this on your own, then seek out the advice of a trusted financial adviser, tax professional, and attorney to assist you.
Best of luck staying focused on the “little things” in life and reaching your goal of living a heavenly life.