August 10

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The Beauty & Unspoken Truths of Retirement

I’m back.  My wife and kids had a great time in Pittsburgh visiting with my parents.  Until the flight home…..  We were stuck in the Pittsburgh airport on a six hour delay with the kids.  We didn’t get home until 3:00 AM.  The kids handled it better than their Dad.

Recently, a study by the Economic Policy Institute showed that nearly half of Americans have no retirement account savings at all.   This study initiated a fluery of articles in the news.   Here are some examples:

It’s worse than you thought: Americans are drastically under-saved for retirement

The State of American Retirement: How 401(k)s have failed most American workers

Families Not Saving Enough For Retirement

My own anecdotal experience jives pretty closely with this evidence.   If I were to sit down with 100 people nearing retirement, around half of them have no savings at all.    It is a concerning societal trend.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Yes, there are many people in this country in difficult financial situations, but 99% of news coverage focuses on 50% of the population.  I want to fill in the reporting gap.  I want to talk to the other 50% of you that have actually saved for retirement.

1.The concept that you need 70-80% of your working income once you retire is completely bogus. Think about it; in your 40’s and 50’s, while you are working, you are paying into your 401k, you are paying nearly 10% of your income toward payroll taxes, you may have kids in college, and you are paying a mortgage.  It is a much more expensive time in your life than your retired years.

2. There are a lot of really cool free activities to enjoy once you retire. In fact, in this modern-day society, the lifestyle of a middle-class retiree is not all that different than the “one-percenters.”  Here is an article to get you thinking: 20 free things to do in Sarasota-Bradenton area.

3. While no one wants to have to live off of the government, there are a plethora of programs which provide a safety net were something out-of-the-ordinary to happen to you once retired. You are not going to become destitute with all of the support available to you.

4. The average social security recipient starting benefits now receives around $1500/mo. If you are married, the number is closer to $3000/mo.  So even for those with no savings, it is possible to live a reasonably comfortable lifestyle once retired living solely on social security.

5. You are probably going to pay less in taxes than you realize. In fact, many people pay NO taxes once retired.  Click here to read my post on this subject. 

6. You are stronger and more creative than you think! Need a little extra money in retirement?  The world is now a “virtual workplace.”  Here are some work-at-home part time jobs that are actually legitimate (via AARP).

In conclusion, my mission in life is to advocate for the 50% who DID save money for retirement.  Things are not a nearly as bleak as you may believe.  Whenever I sit down with someone in their 80’s or 90’s, I often ask them, “What advice do you have for all the people out there who are starting their retirement journey?”  Most of them give me the same answer, “Spend more money in your 60’s and 70’s!   Most of the fears we had about retirement were totally overblown!”

Be Blessed,

Dave

Note:  Many of you are still calling us on our old phone number.  Please take note that our new number is: 941-556-6307.  The old phone number will be disconnected in the near future.

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