Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Retiring in America is Likely a Financial Myth For the Bulk of You...

...especially those of you baby boomer or younger.  It's a red herring for the small number of you that even have it on your radar.  I spent eight years in the retirement services industry.  Granted it was IT, but enough of it was in the customer facing web experience to see the strategy and the general message to existing and would be participants. That message is two-fold - > you're not going to hit your goals regardless of your contribution but you should continue pile money away into these fee ridden investment vehicles.  Yeah, it's grim. I saw a couple of articles float in on the subject in the past few days and it got me motivated to cobble together some partially formulated thoughts on the matter.    

  • People aren't saving, for a handful of reasons, let alone saving for retirement.
What's the solution?  yeah right, like I've got any of that.  Is the problem scenario bigger than saving for retirement or not?  Fundamentally, I think it is a greater problem.  Somehow, we have to alter the collective conscious of our culture to think longer term.  The only way to overcome seemingly insurmountable problems is to define a long term plan to reach a lofty goal and collectively govern ourselves to stay on track in the short and near term.
Here's the reality, if you're in your mid-twenties you're already behind the gun and not likely to ever catch up.  So if you're a conservative who loves to carry on that Social Security is a noose around your neck, it might be wise to take a look in the mirror and realize your situation.  And if you're not one of those angry conservative types, a bag full of "I told you so's" won't put food on the table or a roof over your head when you hit your golden years.

At a higher level, the boom/bust cycle of the market turns retirement into russian rollette.  Just hope and pray that when you're in a boom cycle come retirement.  Google "baby boomer retirement" and peruse the news articles therein if you don't believe me.  And hey, don't worry we've only tied your college savings (529s) and your private health insurance (HSAs) to the cyclical market too.  This isn't a rant against the perils of the market nor is it advocating for a national pension system, it's just the facts. You're broke now and will be when you're old.  Best get to figuring something out or demanding that someone else do it for you.

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