Don’t Retire Broke
We need to save more money people. Period.
Just recently I heard about a lady in her late 60s getting ready to retire. She had worked her entire life and was getting ready start the next chapter called RETIREMENT. Good for her, right? Everyone is going to retire someday, and she had finally reached the point in her life where she could put her feet up and relax.
The only problem – she had only saved $10k in her 401(k).
WHAT!?!?! That’s right, she had worked her entire life and had $10k for retirement. For those of you who like math – she can pull off $33/month using the standard 4% withdrawal rate, which should allow her money to last until she is around 90. How sad is this?
I am not mad at her – I am extremely sad for her. She worked her entire life and has nothing to show for it. One dollar a day for retirement – that just makes my stomach hurt. We live in the richest country in the world, have one of the highest standards of living in the world, and yet there are more stories out there just like this. Why??!! We need to save more. Period.
The Reality of Retirement Investing
Why is the United States of America one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet we have one of the worst savings rates?! Is it because we are convinced that the federal government is going to pick up the slack and take care of us in retirement? Have you SEEN how the government handles money?!! I don’t think I would let the government watch my dog overnight, much less rely on them to save me after retirement.
Here is my wisdom for the day:
The cavalry is not coming to save you in retirement. YOU need to prepare for YOUR future.
We are so used to maxing out every inch of our lives with pleasure, we forget to save. Right now over 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Seven out of ten of your closest friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors are paycheck-to-paycheck. Chances are, you may be part of those numbers as well.
Think about this for a second: If 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, how well do you think they are saving for retirement? Do you think they will have a better quality of life at retirement? Does this bother you? It bothers the hell out of me.
Create a Plan
Stop acting like a child and create a plan. Personal Capital reported nearly 38 million working-age households (45 percent) do not own ANY form of retirement assets, whether it be a 401(k) or a IRA!
Enroll in a 401(k) Plan
If you don’t have retirement assets, you won’t have a retirement. Why is this hard? Call your HR department and enroll in your 401(k) today. Almost all employers offer some kind of free match if you contribute to the 401(k) plan. If you are not taking advantage of this because you love shopping, and shopping, and shopping…..then you are missing out on FREE money and you are preparing to be…..POOR.
Don’t Have a 401(k) at Work?
If you don’t work for a company or the company doesn’t provide a 401(k), it’s going to be okay. There are many options for you self-employed peeps or awesome entrepreneurs out there.
Your options include but are not limited to: the IRA, the ROTH IRA, and the Simplified Employee Pension (SEP). All of these options allow YOU to save and INVEST for your FUTURE and keep taxes away from your money as well. How nice is that?! We have all heard the phrase, you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink. Don’t be the horse. Be awesome and start saving right now. Do it!
Wealthy vs Poor
Now comes the fun part! Let’s look at some examples of saving your money and make it perfectly clear how easy and how awesome investing for your future can be.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income in the U.S. is right around $52,000/year. Let’s say the average household invests 15% a year into retirement and does so for 30 years. How much is that going to be worth at retirement?
**Assuming 8% annual rate of return**
So the average family in America should just about retire a millionaire.
By the way, this scenario above represents the average loser. No, I am not saying you are a loser, what I am saying is we never accounted for you getting a raise for the entire 30 years you invested. If you work for 30 years and are never paid a penny more, chances are you are a terrible employee, terrible entrepreneur, terrible ______ and would qualify as a loser.
Only in America can a loser still retire a millionaire.
No more excuses people – start saving your hard-earned money and retire with dignity. Please, do it!
“But Peach, 15% of $52k a year is $650/month. I can’t afford that.”
No, you are CHOOSING not to afford that.
You are choosing not to pay yourself first. Your budget is simply upside-down. Turn it around and pay yourself 15% before you get to the stuff. You will notice you may not be able to afford the luxury car, the $400/month in dining out, and the Gucci purse. Pay yourself first.
The reason you do this is because you are much more valuable than stuff. You are awesome and awesome should always be addressed before stuff. Still not convinced? Then understand the opportunity cost of investing only 10% of your income and the above scenario leaves you with $615k at retirement.
Boom! You can still stuff your life with crap and retire with wealth.
The Best Time to Start: NOW
Some of you reading this are in your early 20s and are thinking – holy crap I am going to be rich!
Some of you are later in life and thinking – oh crap, I’m screwed. Don’t give up yet. Chef Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was in her 40s. Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics and Spiderman didn’t start writing his comic books until he was 43. Ray Kroc started McDonalds when he was 59. Colonel Sanders started KFC at age 65. It is not too late to start if you still have a heart beat.
Hint: it’s just a lot easier and a lot less effort if you start sooner.
What about the Peaches?
Andrea and I both started working in our early 20s and did typical crap. She had a 401(k) that we didn’t even know existed for the first 3 years she worked. I am a firefighter and we have a 457 – similar to a 401(k) – and I would stop paying into it anytime I needed more money to buy a new snowboard or hit up happy hour with friends. We didn’t truly invest because we thought there was going to be some sort of safety net later in life to catch us. Ha! We almost graduated with a Masters in Stupid from the University of This Sucks.
However, we were fortunate enough to learn sooner than later that we were stupid. That was fun. She wasn’t getting the FREE company match and I was an idiot thinking I’ll just invest more later. Remember, we were normal, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and just didn’t think about the future. Who would have known we were going to need money when we stopped working? Wow, we really were stupid.
Fast forward to present-day. We are both in our early 30s and had our annual review with our financial advisor just yesterday. We are going to be okay. No, we are going to be beyond okay. Why? Because we delay pleasure now and live below our means. We invest like crazy. We save, save, and save some more and it’s working. Who would have ever thought we were going to be wealthy? Not us. We hit a fork in the road and luckily went right. If we went to the left we may have ended up with only $10k in our retirement plan. There is a sign at that fork in the road that says:
Awesome: Go Right
Crap: Go Left
The choice is yours.
What is Your Net Worth?
If you already have a retirement asset (401k, ROTH, IRA, SEP, 403B, 457…..confused yet?) then AWESOME! Pat yourself on the back because you have separated yourself from the 38 million working Americans that have nothing. Your plan is good so far, however don’t settle just yet.
I woud highly recommend you check your Net Worth to get Started. I have teamed up with Personal Capital to offer you a FREE tool that allows you to SAFELY place all of your assets into one location and track your income, your spending, performance of all your investments, an evaluation of your current retirement fees, and your overall networth.
Related: What is Personal Capital?
Do you know exactly what your net worth is? I had an idea, but now know to the dollar amount using Personal Capital. Part of planning for the future is saving money into your investment accounts. The other part is PAYING ATTENTION. Give Personal Capital a look – I am a HUGE fan and l know you will benefit from this FREE tool as well.
Lovin’ this Stuff? Then Please Help Spread the Word!
As always, I first want to thank you for reading this blog because this means you are reaching for awesome with your money! I will keep putting content out there for anyone to gobble up and implement right away, however if you could help me out by sharing this post on your favorite social media platforms, it would mean the world to me! Just click on any of the social share buttons at the top or bottom of this post and you’ll be giving me a virtual fist bump, high-five, and a pat on the back. Thank you again and again!
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