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Saturday, December 16, 2017
Article written by Martin Lukac

Retirement May Not Look Great to Some

It all can easily be summed up in one sentence: Americans are not good at saving. Studies indicate that Americans are not getting ready for retirement.

In fact, 43% of Americans aren't saving anything at all. Only one-third of Americans are saving enough to maintain their standard of living into retirement, according to the Security Industry Association.

An AARP study indicates that 28% of workers are worried that they won't be able to pay for their medical expenses in retirement. A Watson Wyat Worldwide study shows that the majority of employers are planning to cut their retiree medical plans for retirees in the next five years.

The studies show that not only are Americans not saving for retirement, they don't understand what they will face. We can keep saying save, save, save -- but no one is.

So what can be done?

Americans need to understand that retirement is a big change. Often, your income is a fixed amount, while inflation raises the cost of living over the years. Your money buys less and less the older you grow. Medical costs are on the rise and many employers don't offer health-care insurance to retirees anymore. Those that do are planning on changing or eliminating the coverage due to rising costs.

There are many ways to save for retirement. Hundreds of articles are on the internet that offer investment, budget and saving education. There isn't one strategy that works for everyone. Retirement is something that must be looked at on an individual basis.

You can never just assume that you are going to have enough with what you have already saved. Keep saving. You should even practice saving once you reach retirement. After all, you don't know what could happen. Don't assume that you will work until a certain age and that your investments will provide you with enough. Stocks go down. People get sick or injured and have to retire early. Be prepared.

Many people put off their savings because they don't want to think of retirement right now. They think it is too far away to plan for. "I'll simply catch up later" -- I hear that all the time.

This thinking only hurts you. Even if all you can afford to put towards savings right now is $100 a month, do it. The power of compounding interest and the extra time will lesson your burden over time, even into retirement.

If you question whether or not you should start saving right now, find a retirement or investment savings calculator and plug in numbers. Figure out how much you could have in thirty years, twenty years and ten years. Chances are, you will be shocked by the difference between ten years of savings and thirty years. My husband and I started saving an nominal amount about a decade ago. At an average rate of growth, we will have a lot of money when we reach retirement. But we aren't stopping our path to saving for retirement just yet. For every dollar more we put in, we imagine an earlier retirement. For every extra hundred that we are able to throw in, we imagine a more comfortable retirement. We have over 20 more years to let that money grow. We won't retire well because we were lucky. We will retire well because we started young and we kept it up.

The truth is, even though no one is saving, it is the only way to prepare for retirement. There is no surety that there will be Social Security forever. We can't always depend on what our employers have in place as pensions or health coverage. Things are never for certain. That is why you have to start saving. Right now. Make it a priority before it is too late.
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