Great Grandpa didn’t concern himself much with retirement. Odds are he wouldn’t live long past his employment years, and large, nearby extended family would insure his care if he did enjoy a long life.
Grandpa, on the other hand, was privy to the Social Security benefit, along with a strong American economy growing at a fast clip. Lots of opportunity came his way. A good work ethic, savings habits, and less temptation by the consumer credit trap, and he had himself a nest egg.
Now, Father’s generation had not only opportunity for the entrepreneurial among them, but also a paternal manufacturing industry that is almost quaint when pondered today. George F. Johnson’s plants and homes, the days when IBM had never laid off ANYONE , EVER. And these were the days of the Defined Benefit Pension Plan; if you worked for 30 years, a retirement income was guaranteed for life. The investing that was required to make this happen was the sole responsibility of The Company. Dad’s generation needed no investment savvy to make retirement happen.
Oh, how the landscape has changed. Today’s worker has changed jobs many times. He has re-tooled his skills several times to remain valuable. IBM has not only outsourced many jobs to India, but has cancelled that wonderful Defined Benefit Pension Plan his father enjoyed. EJ making shoes in America? Not in a long time, I’m afraid. For today’s worker, there are no guarantees ANYTHING will be there after 30 years in the workplace.
And what happened to that extended family Great Grandpa had? They have moved several times, and are all over the country, that’s what.
The onus falls on every Young Person to make the best use of the payroll-deducted savings opportunities that are available to them. That means never living on more than 85% of their income from the first day they begin working. That also means getting good investment returns. Making money in REAL terms: more than inflation and taxes will eat up. It isn’t the Fixed Option. They must get investment help, and it isn’t available at the water cooler either.
Young Person must also understand that the Credit World is poised to steal their prosperity, not provide it.
If you are a young person reading this article, or the Parent or Grandparent or Great Grandparent of a young worker, this means taking action NOW. Call a financial planner NOW and have him/her look at the 401(k) investment options and put together a portfolio that makes sense given your age. Find a planner who will do this for a fee, because there are no commissions available to do this. That’s why brokers aren’t calling you to do this. YOU must take action.
If you are within 10 years of wanting to retire, don’t forget that you are the Investment Manager of your Retirement Funds. Are you qualified? Paying attention? Reading? Nothing will be more important in your financial life once you stop working. Are you ready? I didn’t think so.
You need to pay a professional planner because IBM isn’t doing that for you anymore. You need to get good advice because you literally cannot afford to get this wrong.
Whether your 25, 45, 65, 0r 85, mapping out a strategy for your financial future is the task at hand. Consulting a fee-only financial consultant will bring to your circumstances the years of experience and perspective to do the job right. You need a professional in your corner who will respond appropriately as the world turns. Grandpa would be proud!
Peyton R. Hawkes
Russell Hawkes Associates, Inc