Monday, November 1, 2010

Monthly Money Sense- Are You Saving for Retirement?

Retirement may seem like a long way away (or maybe it doesn't), but now is always a great time to be saving for retirement. There are also many reasons why it should be a priority. So why is it so important?

  • Most of us live far past the typical retirement age. Some people have even been retired for longer then they spent working. You will need much more money then past generations needed.
  • Many jobs no longer offer pensions. This means you need to be responsible for funding your own retirement. This isn't to say some companies don't pitch in to your retirement account, it just means it no a pension, guaranteed payout.
  • Social security is not your retirement. It was never meant to be. Regardless of how you feel about politics and social security, you should not just assume social security will be your retirement. It is meant to be a supplement to your other retirement money, not all of it. There is also no guaranteed amount or if Social Security will still exist when you retire.
  • Your kids can get a student loan, you cannot get a retirement loan. Many people put their kids education at a higher priority than their own retirement. This is a bad idea. There is a plethora of student aid out there, but there is no such thing as retirement aid. If you plan it right, you can even make withdrawals from to help out with college without a penalty (talk to a financial advisor for specific information). 
  • Your kids are not your retirement plan. Some people mistakingly think that if they some how can't make it their kids are going to bail them out or let them live with them. That's not fair to you or them.
  • Don't think "I'll just get a job if times get tough." Again, you can't depend on the economy to help you out. There are jobs out there for retired people, but you shouldn't count on it as a way to get by.
  • Your house is not your retirement. Sure you could sell it or do a reverse mortgage, but what happens when that runs out? Where are you going to live? And of course everyone should remember that home values aren't always great, and selling isn't always an option.
There are so many reasons why you should be saving for retirement. If your employer offers matching on you contributions, you definitely should take them up on that. Your retired years should be a time of relaxing, not a time of worry and anxiety. Plan now, and enjoy your retirement.
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