Retirement Money - Will We Have Enough?

RetirementNov 20, 2012: Unless we’re already embarrassingly wealthy as we read this, it stands to reason that we know it’s going to take some doing on our part to retire at the level of comfort which we envision. Gone (for the most part) are the days that saw our parents and grandparents work at a single company for thirty or forty years and retire with a nice, cushy pension. They didn’t need to worry about how to invest their money; the employer handled all such tedious and annoying decisions. Ah, the good old days, hmm?

Things have certainly changed in just a few short decades. Take, for instance, our spending habits. No longer does the motto "a penny saved is a penny earned" guide the financial behavior of the average individual. Now, the battle cry of "buy now, pay later" resounds across the countryside. Debt (all kinds of it personal, corporate, and national) has skyrocketed and, as a result, debt consolidation services have closely followed suit.

Nest EggFurthermore, we can no longer simply leave it to our employer to automatically grow and look after our retirement nest egg for us. The burden of responsibility for future financial well-being has steadily shifted away from the employing company (whether large or small) to the individual. In other words, we're now the decision-maker, and if we have any aspirations at all of retiring in style, we are the one that's going to have to provide the impetus. And if our direction of thinking is that Social Security will efficiently supply the bulk of our retirement funds, well let's just snap ourselves back into reality right now. Social Security benefits only provide a meager portion of what's necessary to maintain a decent standard of living even at today's levels. So, as time marches along and all things continue to rise (including our age), that percentage will only become effectively smaller and smaller.

The point that we're trying to drive home here is that, like it or not, our retirement and the financing for it are our responsibility, and only ours. The sooner we come to grips with that nugget of truth, the better. Once that light clicks on inside us, we'll begin to look around for ways to build our retirement into what we want it to eventually be. One of the smartest ways of managing our money these days is to use online savings accounts. It provides amazing ease, flexibility and location independence so far as accessibility to our money is concerned.

Whether we've got four years left or forty before our "Gold Watch" ceremony, we'll find ourselves more attentive to finding methods and vehicles that can help us get to where we want to go. Of course, if we've only got four years left before retirement and we're just starting to plan for it, it's understandable that we'll be looking with a just little more fervor!

RetirementAnd speaking of time, one of the best things that we can do is to stop wasting it. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that in order to make our retirement comfortable, we're going to have to invest for it in one form or another. If investing appears intimidating, an easier way to jump start our retirement savings is to simply put our money in high interest savings accounts. And when investing for retirement, time is, by far, our staunchest ally. The more of it we have on our side, the easier will it be to reap the total returns we need.

Another smart move to make would be to extricate ourselves from our debt as quickly as is practical. After all, when we pay interest on the money we owe, we're actually funding someone else's (the creditor's) investment and padding their retirement bundle, while taking away our valuable assets. If we're in really deep, we might even consider a debt settlement strategy. Remember, every day and every dollar that must be applied to the payment of debt is subtracted from our retirement pot.

Happy RetirementAlso, we should not forget that one of the safest and surest investments we can make is still the purchase of a home. Over the long run, the value of our property is likely to far exceed its purchase price in spite of the current housing chaos. And what's more, if we've paid off (or nearly so) the mortgage as we approach retirement, the advantages of a reverse mortgage to help fund our golden years could become very useful.

So let us start positioning ourselves now. It doesn't make sense to wait another day. Let us do our homework and get sound professional advice. That will aid us to come up with a prudent and workable financial plan that will allow us to live the type of retirement that we desire. After all, it's our responsibility to see that we have enough in the golden years of our lives?

Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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