Most of us who plan to retire aren't yet financially ready for it
Monday, November 19, 2012
I made a contribution to my self-employed retirement plan today. I wanted to get it in before I even started to think about holiday gifts and was tempted to short my future nonworking self.
I'll make my final 2012 tax year contribution in 2013 when I do our taxes and compute precisely how much I made this year and how much of those earnings I'm allowed under tax law to set aside for my golden years.Putting money in a retirement plan, either a self-employed account or an IRA or a 401(k), does suck some money out of your daily cash flow. But it's not just a cliché to say retirement plan contributions are investments in your future. They really are.
And I want to invest in a retirement life that I can enjoy. I have no desire to be a big box store greeter or to ask grocery shoppers if they'd like to try a sample just so I can make enough to pay my post-work bills.
So I take a deep breath and write as big a check as I can to my retirement account. The hubby does the same, putting in as much as we can afford to forgo each month into his workplace 401(k). He also bumps up his contribution percentage with each raise he gets.
Have I mentioned that we're really committed to becoming loafing geezers as soon as possible?
At least we get a little bit of help from the tax code, with contributions being pre-tax with the 401(k), deductible as an above-the-line income adjustment on our 1040 with the self-employment retirement account, and earnings on both tax-deferred.
Too many saving too little for retirement: Apparently, though, we are in the minority when it comes to retirement savings.
The Fall 2012 Merrill Edge report found that more than half of "mass affluent Americans" -- defined as people with $50,000 to $250,000 in total household assets to invest -- have saved less than $250,000 for retirement.
Sixty percent say they are planning to fund their retirement through their personal savings and public sector programs such as Social Security or Medicare.
And most, both those still working and folks who have chucked the 9-to-5, say they don't have their finances under control.
While the Bank of America investment division didn't look at folks making less than $50,000, it's probably a safe assumption that these folks are saving much less for their retirements.
Or planning on not retiring at all.
Dark retirement clouds: Folks also are worried.
The top concerns of retirees and those looking to retire include rising health care costs, fears that they won't be able to afford the post-work lifestyle they desire and worries that their retirement assets will not last throughout their lifetime.
In response to those fears, many are pushing back retirement.
Merrill found that more than half of working respondents (56 percent) are planning to retire later than they were compared to one year ago. That's a year-over-year increase of 19 percent from November 2011.
The only way to alleviate retirement concerns and finally get to the life on the beach or in the mountains or in a city condo close to the action is to put more money, as much as you can afford now, into your retirement accounts.
As you head down the road to life after work, you'll be glad you did.
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