It Seems Too Good to be True for Some, but For Many It may be Too True to be Good
By CM Strawn
January 20, 2021
Retirement Looking Forward
During our working lives we anticipate retirement. Doing what we want, when we want, and without having to worry about earning a living. This is the vision that most of us paint for ourselves.
We work every day to afford the things we need and some of the things we want.
We are employees and business owners whose time is controlled by the demands of our working life from forty to ninety hours each week – sometimes more. Worship, family, discretionary, and recreational time must be fit in around our work schedule.
The Ideal Plan
This vision of carefree leisure during retirement will happen only if retirement planning has been part of our working life. Preparing for retirement is not easy and it must be done with purpose and forethought.
Ideally, a retirement plan is best when it’s started early, say in our twenties.
Most of us have a job of some kind in our early twenties. It may not pay much, and we need every penny when starting out. But if we can train ourselves to put a little aside for retirement each week – even though we’re barely squeaking by financially – we can develop a habit that follows us through our most productive years.
We can acquire a comfortable retirement income for our golden years by growing the amount of our retirement savings as our income increases and following this pattern throughout our working life. Then we can live comfortably and spend our leisure years as we choose.
The Cold Truth
There are those of us who have not adhered to a strict saving plan for retirement. We find ourselves wondering how we’ll find enough financial resources to survive on after our working lives come to an end.
We survive on incomes that are just short of covering expenses. Wages never keep up with the cost of living and it takes multiple incomes to provide for a family’s needs.
There is no such thing as discretionary or recreational money. Retirement savings is not even a consideration when all resources are dedicated to rent, utilities, and transportation. Food, unfortunately, is left for last.
Retirement for many of us will be having a minimum wage job to supplement social security for as long as we can stand alone and move around without assistance.
The Wishing Well
Many of us have put off retirement planning, waiting for better times. We may have been fortunate to have had incomes that provided for our basic living expenses plus some recreational and discretionary funds.
Retirement accounts were not started early out of neglect or lack of interest. But as our earning potential increased, we had more options. Unfortunately, retirement planning remained a low priority.
Some of us may be waiting for a financial windfall before starting a retirement account. This is a mistake. That’s like waiting to win the lottery without buying a ticket.
The good news is it’s never too late to plan for retirement.
Retirement planning must be on purpose and with a goal in mind. Regardless of when the retirement account is started, it must be researched thoroughly and done informatively.
Resources are plentiful to help the uninformed structure their retirement plan. Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and Facebook are just a few of the information caches available.
Do it yourself financial plans are in abundance, but it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional. The experience of those familiar with this landscape are worth the affordable fees involved.
Professional Retirement Planners
Reputable retirement planners can help anyone start and grow their retirement accounts. Many of these professionals have low financial requirements for new accounts, and their fees are within reason.
Financial planners succeed when their clients’ retirement accounts are flush and secure.
Clients that lose faith in one financial planner will move to another. So, there is strong incentive for planners to keep their clients’ accounts secure and growing.
The Time is Now
The longer the decision to begin investing in a retirement account is put off, the more likely it will remain a wish and then turn into a regret.
Nothing can be done about the past, and tomorrow never comes. We are only given today. There is no time like the present. Act now.
I would add that the younger you are the more important it is to start earlier rather than later since Social Security is growing increasingly less reliable as the years pass.
A salient point passed over by one who is old enough to know better:-)