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What Your Most Important Goal Should Be This Year

That would be to save for retirement! But AD, I am only in my twenties and I want to have fun. But AD, I am only in my thirties and my kids are so expensive. But AD, I am only in my forties and I need to pay for my children’s college. But AD, I am only in my fifties, the kids are leaving, and and it is time for us to spend on ourselves. Now I am in my sixties, AD, and I will never be able to retire. I will be working until I die.

In  all my years of living, I have heard it all. There are always excuses and the biggest one is that I have lots of time left to save for retirement. Tell that to all of the seniors who are living on social security only and wondering how to make ends meet, skimping on food to pay for medical prescriptions or going without. They are also wondering if their social security and medicare will be cut because the government spent all the money they put into pay for those things in retirement. Now they say the system is going broke in a couple of years.

Funny thing about time, it flies right by so fast that you really don’t even notice until it is too late. 

Pension plans were a terrific retirement vehicle in my day but they are almost non existent now. Besides so many companies pension plans have gone broke and their retirees have lost everything.

Government pensions plans were better. However take a look at how many states like California and Illinois and many others did not fully fund their employees pension plans while those employees were working. Now they are in the hole trying to pay them. Unless you have that money in your hand, you can’t count on it. These states could easily tell retirees, we can no longer afford to pay you so sorry. Some states have already reduced the amounts the retirees are getting monthly. You can only count on yourself!

I can vividly remember the first time we put money away for retirement. I was 19 years old and Hubby was 20. We are so glad we saved because if our small pension goes away and social security too, we will be just fine.

If you are in your twenties or even thirties, you have a long timeline to invest and be set in retirement. If you are in your 40’s or 50’s, it is a necessity that you save for retirement. You will have to put more away but it isn’t too late. Many retirees ramped up their savings when they were in their fifties and now are living a great life in retirement. Waiting until your 60’s is much harder. You may have to always supplement with a full or part time job. 

For those of you whose  employers offer a match on your 401K, make sure that you are taking advantage of that. If you aren’t, you are throwing away free money.

To go along with this, pay off all of your debt before you retire including your mortgage. The last thing you want hanging over your head in retirement are mortgage, car, or credit card payments. If you have a paid off car going into retirement, start saving to replace that car.

Too many seniors now have debt in retirement. The most recent debt statistics that I could find were for 2016. It shows that seniors over the age of 65 had a median average debt of $ 31,300. That has to affect these seniors mental health. The stress must be tremendous!

Do something to save for retirement now! You do not want to be one of these seniors when you retire.

all know that prices go up. We will be retired 19 years in 2020. The
money that we retired with has lost  45.3% of it’s buying power due to inflation since we
retired. An item that cost us $1,000. in 2001 now costs us $1453.15 in 2020. So you have to account for inflation when you are saving for retirement. It is a fact of life.

I hadn’t planned on writing on this today but looking at everyone’s goals on their blogs or on You Tube, only a couple suggested saving for retirement and I believe it is the most important thing that you can do.

Now for an example of rising costs. We got our January property tax bill that I will be paying today. Since we moved here 10 years ago, our assessment on our home has gone up by $ 50,700. and our property and school taxes have gone up over $ 1250.  annually. If we hadn’t accounted for these increases, we would not be able to stay in our beautiful home that we love.

I think back to when we were paying a total of $2500. in property and school taxes in AZ when we moved. That was wonderful. Now we pay about $ 8400. annually here in New York. Yes, moving was our choice. We moved to be near our children and our grandchildren. But isn’t it fantastic that we had that choice!

So please save for your retirement this year! When you are as “young” as me, you will be so happy that you did.

14 replies on “What Your Most Important Goal Should Be This Year”

Hi AD, this is Chris. Very, very good article today and I agree with every word you said. The only thing I would add is that if you are saving for retirement, NEVER TOUCH IT until you retire. The recent SECURE act passed by our government lets you take out $5k penalty free (but not tax free) from your 401k for the birth or adoption of a child. But you are stealing from your future if you do this. I told both of our kids to never take money from their retirement after they put it in, and never borrow from it either. We paid some of that stupid tax when we were younger and didn't understand finances like we do now. We are still playing catch up at early 60s, but I think we will be ok in retirement if we keep to our plan. Some of it is thanks to what I learned from you. And I also agree with what you said about no debt in retirement. We are so happy to have our mortgage paid off several years before hubby retires. We are starting to save to replace his car, just like you mentioned in the article. It is the next thing after we remodel our master bath.

Hi Chris,

Not touching it should be a given but good point. Thanks! I have been following what you have been doing. Paying off your mortgage was fantastic! I think you will really enjoy your retirement when the time comes.

AMEN!!!!!!! It can't be said enough! My father-in-law called hubby one day after turning 70 stating he was the proud owner of a new 30y mortgage—on a house they had owned for 30 years! ARGH!!!!! He's 80 and still working full time. MIL works as well.

Oh yes, the joy of escalating property value. We've been in our home 29y. Prop tax has increased 5X already. We're just 58y so I can't imagine what they will be in 30 years?

To echo one more time…..PAY YOURSELF FIRST! No one else is going to fund your future!

We were so lucky to work for a state with a great retirement and it is solvent. But it was hard to raise three kids on such low wages. In fact impossible. Now it is a blessing. We also started to save 10% of hubs very low pay 15 years before he retired giving us a nice little nest egg. Now with the house paid off we are fine. Not wealthy but fine.

Hi Kim,

That is terrific! That was a very smart move to save extra money! Paying off the house and retirement savings is the key to so many seniors being able to be just fine in retirement. You do not have to be wealthy!

I started saving for retirement when I was 21 (I was paying for college before that, but was working), & my husband was about 25. We have a lot saved now, but continue to save each year to the IRS max in our 401Ks, and my husband is eligible for the "catch up" amount, as he is also over 50. We also do back door IRAs, to help further.

We'll keep our retirement savings as is this year (still contributing the max), but won't save outside of this, as we will be devoting all of our extra money to pay our mortgage down. We want to have it half paid off before we've owned it for four years, which is quite a challenge for us. Fingers crossed!

As Hawaii above mentions, starting early is such a help to retirement planning. I encourage those with teens to help them start saving in an IRA. My husband started with $1,000 in high school and we still have that IRA today. I will encourage my daughter to contribute to a Roth next year if possible.

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