"For middle-class Americans, retirement simply means a new phase of their working years, according to results from the sixth annual Retirement Fitness Survey from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC). The survey found that 72% of middle-class Americans between the ages of 25 and 69 expect to work through their retirement years. The trend is driven both by deep deficits in personal retirement savings – 39% say they “will need to work” to make ends meet or maintain their lifestyles – and also by lifestyle choice, with 33% saying they will continue to work because they want to."
That is nearly 3/4 of all working adults. How scary is that? And that is just the middle-class. I'm sure at the working class level, it's probably even higher than that. So where do you fall?
If you want to work into your 70's or even 80's, that is just fine and dandy, but if you feel that you will have to, that is just sad. I know the economy has taken a nasty turn that none of us could have expected and that a lot of us did everything that conventional wisdom told us to do, but the reality is that the economy does take a nose dive every generation or two and will continue to do so.
But the fact is that, barring serious illness or accident, you are going to be an old person someday, and you are going to need money. Money for food, shelter, medicine, and a ton of other things. Given the way the economy is going, we may end up needing even MORE money than we need now.
So how are you going to make this happen? I'll tell you, we are going to have to live our lives much more the way our parents and grandparents did. After the lessons of the Great Depression, they learned to live much more frugally, to save a large portion of their money and to live well within their means.
I remember being shocked when I heard that my Dad didn't used to cash his paychecks. Before he married my mother (the Queen of spenders!) he would wait until he had three or four paychecks at a time before he would cash them, and the payroll department would get mad at him. Like most "normal" people, I literally count the minutes until each payday and I can't even conceive of someone who doesn't need to cash their paycheck. But those are some of the frugal habits of a lifetime that we need to start cultivating if we want to be in that tiny percentage of people who are going to be able to retire.
Dave Ramsay has a quote that really fits this situation perfectly. "Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else". Excellent advice, I think!
If you'd like to view previous posts on the finances, click the label at the bottom of this post for a complete list.