Smart Retirement Planning: Solid Planning and the Right Safety Net Will Ensure That You Enjoy Your Golden Years

By Nance-Nash, Sheryl | Black Enterprise, October 2005 | Go to article overview
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Smart Retirement Planning: Solid Planning and the Right Safety Net Will Ensure That You Enjoy Your Golden Years


Nance-Nash, Sheryl, Black Enterprise


AMERICANS HAVE TO CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDES ABOUT retirement planning. Many think they can take their time, but that kind of thinking will not leave much of a nest egg. In years past, Americans would hold one for 25 years then retire with a pension that could carry them through their golden years. That rarely happens these days. The rules of retirement planning have changed.

* RULE NO. 1: You Must Start Now. The earlier you begin planning for your retirement the better off you'll be. If you consistently save and invest, over the 40 years most of us can expect to work, the results can be tremendously favorable. The small sums you save in your early 20s will have the full 40 years to work for you in the stock market. Remember, if you invested $1,000 in Microsoft stock in January 1985, with stock splits and dividends, your money would have grown to more than $334,000 by August 2005. That is after the big 1987 crash and the tech wreck of 2000. The key is finding companies you can grow with over 20 years.

* RULE NO. 2: We're Living Longer, So You'll Need More Money When You Retire. People are living beyond 80 and 90, and chances are, you'll be one of them. Living longer means dealing with an increasing cost of living after you stop working. This means that your retirement planning must ensure that you don't run out of money in your golden years.

* RULE NO. 3: Don't Count On Social Security. With all the talk about privatizing Social Security, it's almost certain that there will be some changes to the system before you are ready to retire. Whatever you receive from Social Security will most likely not be enough to pay your expenses. Your retirement planning must ensure that you are not dependent on it for survival.

* RULE NO. 4: Manage Your Retirement Like You Manage Your Career. Without a career, where would you be? Without retirement savings, where will you be 20 or 30 years from now? Just as you must invest in your career and make the right moves daily to keep it on track, you must do the same with your retirement planning.

The following package is designed to help you start planning for your retirement, no matter what stage of life you are in. No one else will take on this responsibility for you. Turn the page and commit to taking action today. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your future.

20s

Budgeting Is Everything

SAVING FOR RETIREMENT STARTS WITH STRICT SPENDING IN YOUR YOUTH

KIYON SPENCER IS WIDE-EYED AND ready to take on life. The 22-year-old, who received his bachelor's in entertainment production through an individualized study program at New York University last year, has been working at Fox cable television network. As a sales assistant in the advertising sales department, Spencer earns a base salary of $30,000 and lives in New York City with two roommates. He contributes 8% of his base pay to his 401(k) and his employer matches 50 cents of each dollar up to 6%.

Spencer got a good start, but his college years came with a price. He owes about $19,000 in student loans and, after consolidating them, he's paying them back at the rate of about $108 a month. He didn't work while he was in NYU and relied on credit cards to cover some of his school expenses. Consequently, he has about $4,000 in credit card debt. Spencer also admits to having a "bad shopping habit." He's got a thing for clothes but says he's a smart shopper. "I know quality and I get good deals," says Spencer. His other fetish is movies--he has more than 200 DVDs and his collection is growing.

Spencer the Spender will have to turn into Spencer the Saver if he is to reach his goals. He would like to go to graduate school in a couple of years and, in the not-too-distant future, explore job opportunities in film or television. He will likely take a pay cut if he gets a more creative job, and he will need to be sure he can afford to do that and keep his debt under control.

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Smart Retirement Planning: Solid Planning and the Right Safety Net Will Ensure That You Enjoy Your Golden Years
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