Friday, May 02, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Saving for Retirement

I met the other day with my financial planner. Among the various items we discussed was saving money for retirement. Long story short, if I want to work until 65 or 70, I’m on track. Early retirement at 55? I’ll need to save another $20,000 a year, every year. My jaw dropped when I heard that.

I’ve always been a saver. And I always thought I wanted to retire “early.” Now I’m not so sure. If I retire early, what will I do with my time? I crawl the walls after being home for more than 2 days in a row. So I’d probably end up starting another business, but that’s not “retirement” per se.

My experiences then got me thinking about the general US population. As HR professionals, we definitely need to encourage our employees and co-workers to save for retirement. Many people save little or any money. We all know that Social Security payments will be minimal at best. It is up to each person to look out for his or herself.

However, at what point do we cross the line between being cautious and missing out on life? Could I live in a lower cost of living area, or reduce the number of dance lessons I take each week? Sure. But the tradeoff of having to work a few extra years because of enhancing life now, while still being financially cautious, doesn’t sound so bad. Life is relatively short and unpredictable. Preparing for rainy days is vitally important, but it doesn’t rain every day of the year in New York City.

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