Will You Ever be Able to Retire?

By: Janet Majoulet Foust

If you don't do something right now to assure your retirement, you'll end up living in an alley fighting the stray cats and dogs for your meals. Sounds blunt, but it is a fact.

I actually did not think about retirement until it was almost to late. I have seen other people my age do the same thing. The reason is NO ONE talks about it. We don't want to be reminded that we are getting older. We walk around spending money, not saving it. We buy every gadget we can get our hands on, or do the typical 'keep up with the Jones' where we must do, look and be better then our neighbor. STOP! Take a deep breath, exhale and let's review what we should be looking and thinking about instead.

Your retirement plan will not look like your parent's retirement plans. IRA's were just being created back when your parents were planning, or not planning their retirement. 401k's did not exist. So, what did they rely on for their retirement money? Pension plans, social security and savings accounts. Also, people did not live as long as we do now, so their money did not have to go as far.

Your retirement will be different. You will live longer and have a more expensive lifestyle. Back in the day, your parents could live on 70% of their income, but that probably won't do for you.

Social Security for us may not be a reality. As they say, no one has your back, sorry! We cannot rely on the government to subsidize our retirement. The Social Security system is broken, and many of us have heard that we will be lucky if we see a dime of the money we invested into it. As the baby boomers retire and put a strain on Social Security, benefits will have to be cut or taxes raised. For those in or near retirement, your benefits are pretty safe. For the younger crowd, don't count on receiving all of the benefit estimated in the statement sent to you by the Social Security Administration every year, three months before your birthday. Make sure you read that statement by the way; you will find that there are no guarantees being made!

What can you do now? It is never to early or late to start saving for retirement. However you decide to structure your investment is up to you. But like I have been saying over and over again, start saving now! Invest in an IRA or if you are self-employed, consider a SEP IRA. You can also contribute to your employers 401K plan, and open a money market savings account.

Your contributions to a 401K or IRA plan lower your taxable income, so you immediately cut your income tax bill. (Be greedy!) Plus, the investments grow tax-deferred -- i.e., you don't pay taxes on the growth and income until you make withdrawals in retirement leaving more of your money to compound through the years.

**Please speak to your CPA or Financial Advisor about all your options and find out what is best for you before making any decisions.

Retirement
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