There is a wealth of resources out there describing how to get ready for retirement. Books, newspaper articles, Web sites, and television specials are offering plenty of commentary and advice on ways to be prepared. Sorting through it all to find what makes sense can be overwhelming, but is far from impossible. Financial planning is concrete. Armed with the knowledge of savings choices available and the timeline you have to work with, it is possible to draw the line from where you are now to your target retirement date. Staying the course can be tricky. Expected and unexpected life hurdles can spin a plan off course with the loss of a job, a down payment needed to buy a home, or college tuition payments looming.
The government has played an enormous and shifting role in supporting people who no longer work. The real dollars available through social security must be supplemented by other income sources for most retirees to make ends meet. Without further legislation, social security funding is pegged to run out sometime around 2040. Corporations in the last half of the twentieth century tempted employees with the promise of a lifelong pension following decades of service, but many of these companies have been transitioning away from defined pension plans to offering access to retirement savings vehicles that are primarily funded by the employee.
Many Americans desire instant gratification, a tendency that makes it more challenging for most Americans to practice disciplined saving. Most people want items immediately and are willing to acquire credit card debt in order to get what they want without having to take time saving for it, or to worry about whether they can afford it and still reach their retirement savings goals. One place savings leakage can happen is when monies are moved from one 401(k) plan to another. Under present regulations, the funds could be returned to the owner who is changing employers before being moved to a new account. Statistics show these funds do not always make it intact to a new plan, diminishing the power of building a solid nest egg.
This book provides concrete information to get you started on a financial plan for retirement. Use this information to work with professionals who can advise you of current rules, and help you create a comprehensive savings plan that will have the best chance for success. Be wary of over-committing to a savings plan you cannot sustain. You are more likely to give up entirely if it seems too difficult.
Beyond explaining the nuts and bolts of savings, investments, and legal documents, this book will take you through a range of topics addressing various dimensions of living in retirement, not just paying for it. The first of the “baby boomer” generation, the people who are on the threshold of retirement today do not want to be pegged as “old,” “senior,” or “elderly.” There is new thinking that the period of life from the late fifties until very old age — eighty and beyond — needs new nomenclature. The generation that brought about civil rights legislation and women's liberation, stopped a losing war in Southeast Asia, and in general never saw a rule it didn't want to break is not going to go off quietly into the night. Unlike previous generations, this generation wants to be active and involved throughout their retirement.
As volunteers, current retirees want to bring their experience, skills, and expertise to the organizations they choose to support. For example, a former medical professional is not going to be content stuffing envelopes when she could be seeing patients at a free health clinic. Differences between the current retiring generation and those who went before are also reflected in living arrangements. Communes are making a comeback, and bringing services to where people are living rather than funneling people to a homogenized residential facility, like an assisted living facility, is proving to be a less expensive and generally happier solution for retirees. The Everything