I will not lie to you - - saving for retirement is difficult but it is something that everyone must do. Saving for retirement is probably the biggest financial goal that any of us have but for most people it is one of the lowest priorities on their list of financial goals. Most individuals say saving for a home, putting money away for a vacation, saving for a new car or paying for their kid's education are higher priorities than saving for retirement.
As a bankruptcy paralegal, I hear many reasons for people not saving for retirement. In fact, when I ask clients if they have a retirement account most of them look at me as if I have grown horns. The most common response I receive is "If I had retirement money would I be here?" (However, using retirement to get out of debt is not always the best option but that is another article.)
The top seven retirement lies I hear from my clients are:
1. I cannot afford it. This is the number one reason I hear for not saving for retirement. This is a lie - - everyone can find some money (even $10) to put away for savings if we look hard enough (cut out the gourmet coffee each day or brown bag your lunch). If your employer has a retirement plan, join right now!
2. Social Security will pay for my retirement. With the current state of our Social Security system and economy, this is a dangerous lie to tell yourself about retirement. First, we cannot be sure that Social Security will still be available when we retire. Second, I see so many senior citizens filing bankruptcy because their Social Security is not enough to pay for their basic living expenses.
3. I am too young to worry about retirement. This retirement lie is easy to tell yourself when you are in your twenties or even thirties because retirement is decades away and difficult to really comprehend. However, your mother's words will come back to haunt you - - time does fly. If you wait until you are 50 to begin a retirement account, you must accumulate your retirement savings in one-half the time making it much more difficult.
4. My spouse will have retirement. This is a horrible retirement lie that bleeds into other areas of your financial life. You should never depend on another person for your own financial welfare, as you never know what the future may hold. Take control of your own finances and prepare for your future!
5. I will keep working during retirement. Even for those of us who love to work, your health may prevent you from working during retirement. Many of my senior clients file bankruptcy because of unexpected medical bills. Even the best plans can go horrible wrong so while you can hope for the best prepare for the worst and start saving now.
6. I will draw the equity from my house. This retirement lie comes with two huge "what ifs" - - will you have equity in your home when you retire and will you still have a home when you retire. Never count your financial eggs until they actually hatch - - save for retirement now and enjoy a mortgage-free home during your golden years.
7. I will have a huge inheritance to help during retirement. Speaking of counting eggs before they hatch, you are now counting someone else's eggs before they hatch. You hope your parents and grandparents will live a long, healthy life; however, you never know if they will need that money to pay for medical bills or other needs.
The bottom line is you should never put off saving for retirement. It is never too early to begin preparing for your future.
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