As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m slightly obsessed with retirement. The idea of having some change in the bank to just walk away from the 9-5 grind is very appealing…. and THE EARLIER THE BETTER! I don’t want to be 60 years old and walking into my normal early morning meetings. I want to be on a beach or asleep in my bed while the rest of the world drags itself to work.
Is This the New Normal for Retirement?
Penny Hoarder is one blog I frequently read. They posted an article about a recent Bloomberg report that shows two-thirds of Americans aren’t saving at all for retirement! The reasons varied, but many just weren’t taking advantage of company 401ks or didn’t even know what plans were available. Some didn’t have access to 401ks at all. Even worse, some simply didn’t have anything left at the end of the month to save.
This is really scary to me. Social Security isn’t a reliable source for retirement money anymore. My generation may not have access to the same benefits that our parents and grandparents are getting. Pensions are rare, and how many times have you heard about a mismanaged pension failing or significantly cutting benefits to the people who rely on them?
SAVE THAT MONEY!
I wasn’t always smart about saving for retirement. For my first engineering job after graduating, I opted out of the company retirement plan. Why? Because I knew my stay there would be temporary and I thought I needed the money. They also didn’t offer a match for my contributions so, in my mind, I didn’t have much incentive.
When I joined my current employer, I signed up for their retirement plan as soon as I could. They offered a 5% match if I contributed 5% of my paycheck. Heck, yeah!! I’ll take free money!
Even though my salary was much lower than it is now, all of that change added up over the last several years…. Even when the market was doing poorly….Even when I was stupid about what I was investing in (why, oh why, did I invest in so many government bonds?).
Just recently, I hit a milestone in my retirement savings. A few years ago, I read an article similar to this one that says you should have at least one years salary in retirement by the time you are 35. I’m not 35 yet, but I JUST hit that goal! YAY! This is a big deal for me!
Don’t be normal. Be a Weirdo.
Please look into your company’s 401k or retirement benefits. See if they offer any matching contributions. Not taking advantage of it is like leaving money on the table. The earlier you save, the more you will have. Saving $100 a month starting at age 25 is worth SO MUCH MORE than saving $100 a month at age 40. Don’t be a normal American! SAVE THAT MONEY!