First Person: I Will Have Enough to Retire

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I have a long way to go until I retire, but I feel pretty good about my savings plan at the moment. Apparently, the same cannot be said for many of my fellow Americans, as a recent article suggests that retirement is going to be a challenge for many citizens. A retirement crisis may eventually be upon us because people did not, or could not save enough. I cannot be completed assured that I will retire "comfortably." Nor can I predict what will happen in the future from an employment standpoint. However, right now I feel some sense of confidence about my ability to eventually retire.

Saving since the beginning

This is one of those areas where I don't know why I have made certain decisions in the past. When I got my first job, I immediately started contributing to the retirement accounts that were offered to me. When money comes straight out of your paycheck, it tends to be a little easier to contribute than if you have to write a check every month. I contributed as much as I could, and I made sure that I maximized the company matching that was provided. This was a simple decision for me, and I do not believe anyone advised me to start saving right away. Maybe they did and I just don't remember, but it has always been clear to me that I needed to start saving for retirement as soon as I got my first job out of college. That habit continues today.

Automatic

In addition to my regular retirement contributions that come out of my paycheck, I have additional money automatically deducted from my checking account every single month. This deduction goes into a separate retirement account, which adds to my portfolio. My current portfolio includes a number of different funds, some of which are stock-based. As I get older, I will start to shift those towards bond-heavy funds. Would I like to be saving more? Certainly. I do not save up to what is allowed by IRS regulations, simply because I do not have the cash flow to put that much away. Still, the automatic deductions makes it more of a habit. Otherwise, I don't know if I would be motivated to write that check in every budget period.

Keep working?

If I do not have enough saved when I retire, I am not opposed to working longer. I don't expect to be a millionaire, but my house will be a solid asset and my retirement accounts will hopefully cover living expenses and a bit of travel. Health care is the real concern, but that aspect of society could be a lot different in a couple of decades. Some studies suggest that longevity is tied to having some sort of ongoing purpose in life. Working doesn't have to be that purpose, but I do not necessarily dream of stopping right when I turn 65. If I still enjoy my work, I would rather have a reason to get up every day and pursue ongoing challenges. If not, I will volunteer, take classes, and hopefully have enough money to live on.

I will keep saving. It is just what I do.

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