I have a friend who jokingly over-uses the word "doomed", particularly when playing the awesome game: The Settlers of Catan. I always laugh because very few things really lead towards the true meaning of doom. There may be some small things that make your life difficult today, but often they resolve themselves and doom is thankfully averted.
USA Today put out this article a couple of days ago: "Retirement: A third have less than $1,000 put away" That's worthy of doom, but I found this even worse... "60% of workers have less than $25,000."
By most measures the amount necessary to fund a retirement is in the hundreds of thousands, even topping two million depending on some opinion and lifestyles. While it makes sense to differentiate between those who have $1,000 or $25,000 saved, either is what I consider, woefully inadequate. I find it much more alarming that 60% of workers have woefully inadequate retirement savings. I can almost ignore the 36% number who really haven't even gotten started saving.
Then there's this from the survey: "Debt is weighing heavily on many people, with 58% of workers and 44% of retirees saying they have a problem with their level of debt."
I can't imagine retiring with any level of debt. I just can't see how to make that math work. I hope the Social Security checks are sufficient, but I fear they are not.
This is real doom. Not in the losing a game of Settlers way, but losing in the game of life way. This isn't wake-up tomorrow and the problem is gone. This is a permanent thing unless you do something about it.
I realize that it is a tough economy. I know that everyone has expenses to pay today. I still a lot of luxury cars on the roads though. I still see a lot of people with $100+ cell phone plans. I think there a lot of people living in denial.
What else can you do? Plan. The article has this alarming statistic: "Only 44% say they or their spouses have tried to calculate how much money they'll need to save by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in their golden years."
It doesn't cost anything to get together, talk, and calculate how much you'll need to retire. You can even put that fancy phone with the $100 plan to work and get a nice calculator app. Yes, it may be depressing, especially if you have no real savings. However, have the talk and make a plan... and if you need to follow it up with a cheap bottle of wine.
Is planning a sure-fire recipe for success? No, but it is a start in the right direction.
The problem with this article is that I'm probably preaching to the choir. If you are reading this site, you most likely have had the conversation, and set forth the plan. Most of you are probably in that other 40% like myself. If not, you are probably well on your way there.
Final thought, where was this article a couple of weeks ago during my retirement week set of posts? Grrr...
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