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In cased you missed them, there were some very scary statistics scattered throughout the October, 2011 AARP Bulletin. In the years since then, things have not changed much. Basically, they come down to the fact that people are not saving nearly enough money in order to retire. Here is some of what they had to say:
Families that have a head of household who is between the ages of 60 and 70 have only saved about 25% of what they will need for retirement. (p. 3)
About 53% of all families in the US do not think they have enough retirement savings in order to have a comfortable retirement. (p. 28)
In addition, the AARP Bulletin showed the impact that inflation is having on family wealth. Between 1989 and 2009, the full time income for a man increased only about 3%. Meanwhile, the cost of a college education for a child increased 73%, the cost of health insurance premiums rose 182%, and the amount of debt being carried by the average middle class family rose 292%! (p. 28) No wonder many of us feel that we are working harder than ever, but have less to show for it.
What can we do? As impossible as it may seem, we all need to learn how to save money before we retire. Everyone who is 50 years old or older should sit down and take a realistic look at how much income they will have when they retire, and then begin living now as close to that amount of money as possible! At the very least, you should try to live on only 90% of your income and save the other 10%. If you cannot live on 90% of your income now, how do you think that you will live on just half of it ... which is what is going to have to millions of Baby Boomers!?
For example, let's say the head of the household in your home will receive approximately $2,000 a month from Social Security when they turn 67. Their spouse will be eligible for an additional $1,000 a month in spousal benefits from Social Security when they turn 67, too. If you expect to have $100,000 in your IRA or 401K by the time you retire, that could consider investing in a 20 year annuity and you would receive $400 - $500 dollars extra a month, at today's rates. This comes to $3,500 a month in potential retirement income, including Social Security and investment income.
What is your current cost of living? If you spend a lot more than $3,500 a month, you should start making adjustments to your current expenses to see if you can bring them down. What will you need to change? Will you need to move to a less expensive home or apartment, buy a less expensive car, or pay off your loans? Perhaps you need to shop more carefully, by buying less and purchasing what you need when it is on sale.
If you simply cannot bring down your expenses after retirement, is it possible that you could increase the amount of money you are putting in your IRA or 401K, so that you will have more retirement savings to invest when you stop working? Where can you come up with the extra savings? Are there services you could eliminate or reduce now, such as cable TV or your house telephone line? Whatever you decide to do, start making the changes now, while you are still working. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to take the necessary steps to have a balanced budget after you retire.
With the right retirement planning, you can turn things around and take control of your retirement years. It really is possible for you to become part of the 25% of people who have adequately planned and are prepared to retire!
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