Annie Duke, former World Series of Poker champion, referenced a bit from comedian Jerry Seinfeld to explain how to save for retirement when she popped on by TheStreet’s headquarters recently. And, as with many things from the legendary observational comic, what Seinfeld says makes perfect sense.
In Seinfeld’s popular “Night Guy/Morning Guy” skit, Night Guy stays up late to the detriment of Morning Guy, who has to get up in the morning and function well, Duke explained.
“[Night Guy-Morning Guy] is a good example of how we struggle in the present to take care of our future self,” Duke wrote in her latest book, “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.” “Night Jerry is always going to want to stay up late and, if Morning Jerry has no say in the decision, Night Jerry will get his way, regardless of what’s in Jerry’s longer-term best interest.”
In planning her own retirement, Duke says she thinks about what the “75-year-old Annie” will need, instead of bowing to a desire now, more than 20 years earlier, to spring for a Lamborghini, for instance, or some other luxury item. Some of that involves setting up safeguards that guarantee retirement money is put away, such as automatic deposits into an account.
It doesn’t mean, Duke said, that she won’t bend to a desire for quick gratification, but it will be harder to undo if systems are in place for saving.
As a professional poker player, Duke won some $4 million. Since she retired from poker in 2012, Duke has been a consultant and public speaker focusing on sound decision-making.
“Wouldn’t it be great,” wrote Duke in her book, “if Morning Jerry could travel back in time and tap Night Jerry on the shoulder to tell him to go to bed?”
If he could, that would mean more sleep for Jerry, and, perhaps, more money for your retirement years.
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