We kid ourselves that the Retirement Fairy will rescue us. But the truth is, we’re on our own. Here’s how to break free of the myths.
Here are the four misconceptions that can lead you astray as you plan for retirement:
- I can work until I’m 70 or older — Though Americans are living longer, this is a pipe dream. You cannot count on good health. And health is your most important asset, more important even than your job. What’s more: do you really want to be working until you’re 70?
- I can count on Social Security — Though Social Security is the subject of much doom-and-gloom speculation, it’s probably not going anywhere. Your benefits, however, may not be what you expect. Experts expect that in 25 years, Social Security will only replace about 30% of a retiree’s salary.
- I’m saving for a better future — “Unless you start very young, or save more than 15% of your income, you’ll be lucky to have the same income, purchasing power, and standard of living in retirement that you have right now.” This is another reason that becoming accustomed to a frugal lifestyle now can help you in the long run.
- Thank goodness for my inheritance — Dunleavey cites several statistics that indicate few people receive large inheritances. Why? Because:
- Your parents don’t care.
- Your parents are spendthrifts.
- Your parents may remarry.
- The odds are against you.
Less than 2% of heirs get $100,000 or more from settled estates.
Among the responses to the article are these two comments:
You forgot the biggest myth of all that you will make on average 8% on your 401(k) a year. I started working in 1998; I have not even come close to earning 8% a year. In fact, for many years I lost money and have yet to make a comeback from those years.
I am a 63 year old, married for 45 years, female who retired one year ago and was bored after four months. I was able to land a wonderful part-time job as a receptionist close to home making $12 an hour. I have been fortunate to have had good health and missed very few days for illness, (none in eight years). This bodes well in the work force along with the fact older Americans have a different work ethic than their younger co-workers when it comes to dedication and hard work. I believe there will be a place in the business world for seniors for many years to come.
Prudence and fiscal responsibility are the best way to ensure a happy retirement. Save money. Invest it wisely. Live frugally. Expect the best but plan for the worst.