Too Late to Save for Retirement

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Too Late to Save for Retirement

by | Jan 16, 2019

If you’re like a lot of folks in your 50s or older and have not saved enough for retirement, there still may be hope.

Unfortunately, too many people have procrastinated and erred on the “live for today vs. save for tomorrow” balancing act, hoping things will work themselves out later.  For too long, they’ve said, like Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone With the Wind, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow”.

We are increasingly encountering prospective clients who are middle-aged and older with only paltry savings — if that — squeezed between helping college-age children get a start in life and caring for elderly parents.

About a third of Baby Boomers have saved less than $25,000 while just over a fifth of all Americans have no savings at all, according to a study by Northwestern Mutual.

However, the good news is that it may not be too late to put more away for retirement, or to make decisions that will help create more financial stability when it comes time to retire.

In fact, people in their 50s and 60s who have little salted away in the bank for their golden years should not lose not hope, for they still have the ability to make decisions that could boost their financial confidence in retirement.

First and foremost, you have to determine what amount is needed to support the lifestyle you’d like to enjoy when you stop working.  That figure depends on many factors but probably should not be less than 75% of what you’re making while working.  If you see a large estimated gap in financial resources for your retirement, you may need to get very serious about buckling down, create a plan and start adhering to the plan.

Being short on retirement savings doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be ever be able to kick back and put the work world behind. But you may have some difficult choices, either work longer or reduce your retirement income goals.

It means taking a realistic look at when you hope to retire, whether it’s the traditional 65 or maybe even older — to see whether your investments, savings and Social Security payments will be sufficient.

While working longer than you had planned on may not exactly your favorite option, it may not be the worst choice, depending on your priorities.

For example, a single, 62-year-old client with $350,000 in savings wanted to retire.  After a close look at her current financial reality, if she were to quit working now and start collecting Social Security, her resources may not sustain her to her projected life expectancy.  Instead she was advised on  the idea of hanging in there for another three years before she started Social Security and drawing from savings.

By waiting until she was 65, she gained an additional 8% a year in his Social Security payments, while also putting more money away into her 401k and other savings. She would also be able to immediately enroll in Medicare when she turned 65, cutting his health care expenses.   You can’t turn back time, but you can get started today!

The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete.  It is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and is does not constitute a recommendation.  Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James.  The hypothetical example listed in this material for illustration purposes only.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  Actual investor results will vary.  Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.  Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment.  Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation


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