2 Great Perspectives on Retirement

I have written four posts on the state of retirement in the last two weeks:

There were two great articles in the newspaper over the weekend that give two very different perspectives on the state of retirement for baby boomers.

The NY Times Op Ed section had the article Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement.

The author states:

Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers. Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day.

She also states:

To maintain living standards into old age we need roughly 20 times our annual income in financial wealth. If you earn $100,000 at retirement, you need about $2 million beyond what you will receive from Social Security. If you have an income-producing partner and a paid-off house, you need less. This number is startling in light of the stone-cold fact that most people aged 50 to 64 have nothing or next to nothing in retirement accounts and thus will rely solely on Social Security.

Have you calculated your number? For most of you the answer is NO!

Scott Burns wrote a great piece titled How Much Is A Future Year Worth?

Scott writes:

There are two kinds of people in this world. Spenders. And Savers. There is no middle ground.

The savers prepare for every contingency in life. They have retirement savings. They have a reserve fund. They have long term care insurance. And they never borrow money. They do this by putting off until tomorrow (or much further) what they might do today. Some call them by their technical name: Party Poopers.

Their dilemma is summarized in a single statement: “If you don’t buy that Corvette, you can be sure your grandson will.”

Spenders can usually be recognized by their vacations, the newer model cars in their garage, their restaurant spending and the fact that they drink high-priced California wines with weird names instead of Three Buck Chuck.

Their dilemma is summarized in another statement: “My retirement will be fine as long as I die by Friday.”

The first article basically says that the vast majority of baby boomers are in trouble as it relates to retirement.

The second article says if you are a saver like me, then I may be preparing for a future that does not exist and I should enjoy myself now! Plus, if you die early it does not matter that you did not save for retirement.

Take a moment to read both articles and let me know what you think!

If you are interested in more baby boomer facts click here to download my baby boomer fact sheet.

You can also download my whitepaper “Don’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto


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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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