Thursday, November 01, 2012

Are you saving enough for retirement?

Numerous articles say that many people aren't saving enough for retirement (for example, Huffington Post, CNNMoney and SmartMoney).  I probably know some of them: actors and other feelancers who live month to month, parents who set aside money for their kids' college funds instead of their own futures, people who are between jobs, who lost their pensions or are earning less than they used to so they aren't contributing as much to their 401Ks. 

How do you know if you'll have enough to retire comfortably?  Information and calculators abound, such as AARP's, msn MONEY's  and Kiplinger's. But some people don't want to know.  They don't want to be scared or despair over how they'll possibly catch up, so they don't do the math. Maybe they think it'll all magically work out, somehow. 

The company I worked for for 13 years recently offered a one-time opportunity to take a lump sum pension payment (minus taxes and an early withdrawal penalty, or roll it into an IRA), start receiving a monthly payment, or do nothing and wait until 65 for the original pension.  I rans some numbers, checked with a few friends, did research, talked to financial advisors. But there are too many variables to be sure I'm making the right decision. What will the economy do in the next decades, including stocks and other investments, interest, inflation? How long will I live, and how long will I be able to or want to work? Only time will tell if I made the right decision.

The global economy has more impact on the American economy than in years past.  So many people are under water on their houses/condos.  So many retiring now have less to retire on than the previous generation.  Many cities, countries, individuals have greater debt.  Will there be enough jobs, enough spending by businesses and consumers to fuel the economy? 

Are you saving enough? Take the time and effort to figure it out. Knowledge is power.

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