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Save For Your Retirement

Start early and make it a number one priority. It can be done. It must be done to have those happy years later, the capstone of life.

Professor Ronald T. Wilcox says in his new book, Whatever Happened To Thrift? "Lots of households in the U.S., when they get ready to retire, will be well short of what they need in terms of savings to finance retirement. The risks have shifted from companies to individuals, so by and large we have to save for our retirement. We're not doing that. Social Security won't come close to what we need. He then asks the question, "How do Americans rank as savers compared to other countries? Dead last in the developed world." Americans have gotten into the habit of using credit cards. They don't look at the total price but only at the amount of the monthly payments. We are a credit society. Since the national savings rate is zero, the prospect for a comfortable retirement may be in jeopardy. This must change if comfortable and contented retirement years are desired. An article by Craig Stock entitled "Common Money Mistakes Can Carry Very High Cost" writes: Many failed to regularly save something. This may be the most fundamental financial error of all. It is crucial to get into the habit of paying yourself first before paying the rest of your bills. Take part in a deferred-saving plan, if your employer offers one, or have part of your pay deducted for a credit union savings account."

Jean Chatzy's article in the June 2008 Readers Digest gives three reasons for people not saving as in the past;

  1. Saving today is harder.
  2. Credit has become too accessible.
  3. Saving is, was, and always be no fun.

The national savings rate is zero. Many Americans are stretched way out on their credit cards. We have been on a spending spree. For financially comfortable retirement years, this must change. Planning and saving are a must for a worry free retirement. Whether the government can help is an unknown quantity, as it is in debt as well. The future of the Social Security program is not settled as it is distributing collections today from workers to recipients. there is no trust fund. Our Congress has not been a good steward of our Social Security tax dollars.

Jean Chatzy goes on to say, "But I can't save any money. It's an excuse I hear a lot. The problem with ceding control to our lizard brains is that saving is absolutely necessary, more now than in the days of your father or grandfather's company pension. That stream of funds has been overtaken by 401(k)s that we are responsible for funding ourselves. What's more, our longer life spans requires more money to carry us for more years."

She goes on to quote Stephen Brobeck, executive Director of the Consumer Federation of America who says, "That one reason many middle-income families don't save is that they don't believe they can come up with big enough sums to do it effectively. The fact is, small amounts can abe quite effective. Start with your change. It sounds trivial, but we have story after story of people who accumulated hundreds of dollars that way, realized they could do it, and worked harder to get more, he says."

Jean Chatzy says, "Finally, recognize that the saving process is actual healing. It makes you feel better--a better person, a better spouse, a better parent--to know that you have something put away for the future. Brobeck says, "You have to make sacrifices in the short term, but you'll feel so much better in the medium to long." It is more important to save and invest now than it was fifty years ago, and the importance will continue to rise in the future. Start early and make it a number one priority. It can be done. It must be done to have those happy years later, the capstone of life.

For more information about how you can help yourself accrue the necessary savings for your retirement, read The Best Comes Last by Lewis Coiner. It's a little book with a lot of good advice.

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