According to a new survey that hit the streets today, courtesy of Bankrate.com, we have learned that over one-third of all adult Americans have yet to save anything towards retirement, and more than one-fourth of Americans in the 50 to 64 age bracket have nothing saved.
These are startling figures, in one sense, but unsurprising, in another; while retirement planning has been a priority topic in American society for many decades now, the dedication to living as well as possible (more about “living well” in just a moment), as well as a deterioration in economic opportunity for many, have conspired to make it difficult for some to realize enough disposable income at the end of the month to contribute to a retirement plan.
One of the complicating factors at play is the declaration now made by more and more folks that they will be perfectly happy to stay busy and work until the event of their passing. To be honest, I have historically been supportive of this position, but never at the expense of also putting money aside for retirement. I have always felt that staying productive in the workplace enhances both physical health and financial health…but at the same time, as we age, it is likely to find oneself beset by issues that will force the cessation of work at a point significantly preceding death; for one thing, there is always the lurking threat of ill-health as we age, and what’s more, older folks typically find their advanced years to be an obstacle to remaining of interest to employers (sad as that may be).
In the end, it is perhaps the “living well” issue that many Americans will have to reconsider more seriously. If you are currently unemployed or are otherwise in a dire situation that makes saving for retirement right now truly challenging, that’s one thing; however, if you are gainfully employed, and this latest survey speaks to you, it is important that you reevaluate just how you’re living in order to make the changes necessary to fund some kind of retirement nest egg - size of house, type of car, even frequency and type of meals out…should all go back under your magnifying glass for a closer look. We all want to have nice things, but perhaps the nicest thing of all that we can come to have, in terms of money and “stuff,” is a financial safety net that allows each of us to finish our lives with as much peace and dignity as possible.
Robert G. Yetman, Jr.
Managing Editor, The James L. Paris Report