First Person: Looming ‘Retirement Crisis’ Doesn’t Worry Me

Yahoo Contributor Network

I don't plan on fleeing the United States in search of a better retirement haven when I retire in 30 years. According to a recent CNN article, the U. S. ranked 19th in overall retirement security worldwide. The ranking was based on an index compiled by Paris-based Global Asset Management.

While the U. S. came in 19th out of 150 countries, which to me seems fairly respectable, some experts suggest the U. S. will fall even further due to the "retirement crisis."

While it's true, not all Americans will receive a pension and the Social Security system is facing hard times ahead, I expect to retire gracefully in my Florida neighborhood.

Taking care of myself

I think it's fairly common for people in my Generation X to be self-reliant and independent. I view Social Security as a safety net for people who aren't able to take care of themselves in retirement. According to the article, Sweden has a guaranteed pension program for its residents. Countries from the Western Europe region filled the top 10 spots on the retirement security index. However, don't think healthcare and social programs would attract me to retire in Europe. My older relatives have received quality care at hospitals in Florida. My plan is to save as much as I can into my health savings account in the next 30 years.

Preparing for retirement

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, more than half of people who are 30 and older are unprepared for retirement. Whenever I watch the Suze Orman Show, I'm always surprised by how much money she expects people to have saved for retirement. According to some experts, we should all be maxing out our retirement savings accounts every year. For most of us who have a family, it's a completely unrealistic goal. For me, it's more realistic to simply have 10 percent of any of the money I earn funneled into my retirement accounts. Having automatic savings set up through my online banking makes it mindless so I won't be tempted to spend.

Paying off my house

Even by just paying the minimum amount on my mortgage, I'll have my house paid off by the time I retire. I've noticed some baby boomers retire with new mortgages, financing their retirement homes. My grandmother's generation tended to enter retirement with no mortgages. They paid off what they owed. I think there will be a retirement crisis for boomers who enter retirement with debt.

Living within my needs

I've always tried to live within my means, but Suze Orman recently added a new dimension to that cliché. She said to live below your means but also within your needs. In other words, if I only need a 2-bedroom home, I shouldn't be buying the 5-bedroom home that I can afford. When it comes to retirement, I will have a lot more money saved if I only purchase what I need.

In another 25 or 30 years, I'm sure retirees will face many challenges in the United States. Although the U.S. may not be one of the top 10 places to retire in the world, it's No. 1 with me. I don't expect the government to give me a guaranteed pension plan in the future, when I can guarantee my own future by saving for retirement today.

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