How much money do you have in savings, right now? Ask this question in any social group; Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials or a mix of all. If they give you a thoughtful, honest answer, you will probably hear: “Not enough.”
And we didn’t even mention the ‘r’ word…retirement.
Saving money, in general, can be an uncomfortable topic; much like medical problems, we prefer to discuss the subject with a professional or hope it will just go away on its own.
Unfortunately, few of us actually do contact a money management professional- or visit personal finance websites– even though we know we ‘should’.
If you have a job, now is the time to start your retirement planning.
Boomers might call it ‘putting something away for a rainy day’. They know they will eventually be on a fixed income, and that people get less healthy as they age. Eyeglasses, prescriptions, surgeries, grandchildren, hobbies, cable… These things all cost money. Most Boomers will tell you they did not begin saving for retirement soon enough. Some will say there’s too much month left at the end of their money. They may even tell you they did not expect to live as long as they apparently will. Have you noticed that the person bagging your groceries is 70?
Generation X folks were affected by wild economy extremes of the 80’s, by a boom in technology and 2 working parent households. They didn’t call them ‘latchkey kids’ for nothing. People lost homes and jobs, purse strings were tightened and retirement contributions frequently fizzled away. Gen Xer’s are carrying more student debt and for much longer. They are probably also keeping an eye on aging family members as they raise their own kids.
Millennials are totally immersed in technology- can’t imagine free TV or a telephone you have to dial. Millennials want answers instantly, carry more student debt than the generation before, may be working for lower wages and paying more for health insurance. On the plus side, they have available all the free information and knowledge they need to help them plan and save for a long, comfortable retirement.
70 is the new 40…or something:
People live longer and healthier lives these days, and they can survive horrific illnesses and accidents. They will need money to live on. Do not rely on Social Security alone.po
Honestly, do you have to buy everything you see and want? If you do, don’t use a credit card to buy it! Don’t try to impress other people; you won’t for long. Impress yourself- save for your retirement.
Compound Interest is your Friend!
A good goal is to plan to live on the interest your money earns each year- not on your savings itself. If you start small and grow your savings-every pay period, you will win twice- earning interest on your saved money and interest on the interest you’ve earned!
Know what you’ll need:
CNBC states over 80% of Americans are unaware of how much they will need to retire. If pressed to come up with a figure, almost half of all Americans believe that 500 thousand dollars is sufficient- half a million dollars-… and they are actually 250 thousand dollars short.
Plan, Plan, Plan:
Financial advisors say that a good starting retirement plan is to save 15% of your pay, every pay- for thirty years. Make sure you have a separate ‘emergency fund’ of savings readily available to help you weather an emergency- without touching your retirement money. Experts say a nice pad is three months’ salary. Anything life throws at you will only become worse if you are struggling financially as you go through it.
Let Your Employer Help.
The HR department at work has personnel whose primary function is to set you up for retirement savings. Use them!
If you don’t know, ask!
Educate yourself, ask questions, READ, come up with a plan and measure it against those proposed by professional retirement planners. You may be surprised at how much you already know about your future needs.