I’m going to be as honest as I can be here. I am 44 (next week) and I am SO not prepared for retirement. I don’t want to go the route a lot of elderly middle to lower-income families are going and work until I’m put in the grave. That is an injustice to those of us who have worked for years to enjoy retirement. Saving for retirement has become a new thing so we don’t have to work until the day of our funeral.
Companies push the 401k plans or stock option plans as a way for us to take control of our future and allow us to retire as pension plans are no longer offered. I have 401k plan through previous companies I’ve worked with as well as my current company. But, the thing is, I don’t trust that I’m going to have that plan to retire on. I’m afraid that with the way the economy has bounced around, I’m losing more than I’m gaining.
I also have stocks with my current company. But, as with most companies now, I have to be here X amount of years to get it. For example, last year I had a bonus that was part cash and part stock. Which, as I started a new job, my bonus was much higher than I was used to. But, my stock? Even though it was part of my bonus from 2015, I won’t get it fully until 2019. Ummm, what??? How does that even make sense? How are you going to hold me hostage for something I earned for being an employee?
So, again, I don’t trust that I’m going to have the money to retire on. What am I planning to do in saving for retirement and to make sure I can do what I am entitled to do and live the last years of my life in peace and not working until I draw my last breath?
I’m planning to do the following:
Take Social Security at my earliest age allowed. Why? Unfortunately, the women in my family in previous generations haven’t made it out of their 60’s. Sounds kind of morbid, I know. And while I don’t smoke or drink excessively, I know I have health conditions that could still take me out in my 60’s.
Put money away each paycheck. I know this is taxed money, but, so will my 401k when I cash it out when I retire. It may be taxed at a lower rate because of my later age group, but, with me putting money into a savings account instead of a 401k, I know that what I put away will be what is there when I am able to retire and can use it. If I’m able to save up several hundred thousand going into retirement, I’ll be happy. I know they say you should have at least a million saved to retire comfortably, but, let’s face it. THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
Take on side jobs from my employment as a freelancer. I haven’t been at the same job for twenty some odd years. My 401k hasn’t been building since I was 18 like it has been with my older counterparts who will be retiring in the next five to 15 years. I’m not my step father who was lucky enough to retire 24 years before he died because he had a pension plan after being with a company for 35 years. I’ve been through job changes of my own decision and lay offs based on company decisions. Younger employees of today are not the same as they were back in the 80’s. That’s really when all that changed. Employees needed jobs, and employers knew that. But, I don’t feel a lot of the larger corporations value employees like they did back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Tiny Home living with no mortgage. After my son graduates, he plans to move away. So, I won’t need the home that most people dream of retiring in. I want to purchase an RV and travel while I’m working my Freelance business. I don’t need to purchase a big one. Just one big enough for me. That is one of the biggest bills a person can have. I don’t want to waste my money on a place that is too big for me when I’d rather have experiences than stuff. Two of my best friends who are married were one of the few couples I knew that made wise decisions. They are my age and while they have two young girls, they budget their money strictly so they can retire when their girls go off to college. They have no mortgage because of the decisions they made in their 30’s. I wish I were them! LOL. Don’t get me wrong. I am not jealous of them. They earned it and I’m excited for them! They are well on their way to being able to retire at the young age of 55!
Right now, my money is going to my teenager. He got braces this past year. He’ll be getting a car next year. He goes on to college in three years. Thankfully his father works at a University, so his education will be free. We’ll only have to pay his dorm fees, meal plan and books. And I’m NOT complaining about that. I had a child knowing full well the costs :). But, even with all that, I’m still trying to put something away in saving for retirement. And it is quite possible that I may never be able to FULLY retire. But, if I’m able to successfully run my business and become established as an author now, I should have enough passive income coming in that will allow me to pick what I want to do when I’m older on a part time basis instead of pulling in the old 9 – 5.