Insurance Insight: Financing your retirement years

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 30, 2002


One recent survey of those approaching retirement age, 51-61 years, reported that 30 percent in the survey group had personally saved less than $10,000 for retirement.

While many Americans are feeling more concern about depending on Social Security for retirement income, it appears they are doing little about starting their own retirement plans.

Often, the problem is not in earnings, but in spending too much. We buy more than we need in vehicles, houses, and “stuff.”

When the paycheck is gone, we often continue to spend via the convenient credit card. We are spending our retirement funds on “things” now.

Moderation is a key. It would be wise to set some funds aside today, in case you are alive tomorrow.

1. Start now. The quicker you start, the sooner compounding interest goes to work for you.
2. Save regularly. Consistent savings will accumulate. (Use payroll deduction. This helps avoid the temptation to spend).
3. Spend wisely. Do not break the budget every month. Live within your means.
4. Consider the impact of inflation. You need some type of interest or earnings return to offset inflation’s attack on your nest egg. There are “safe” places to put your money that provide interest income. Look around. Become informed.
5. Do not rely on Social Security to cover your retirement needs. Assuming the system continues, it will likely not provide the income level you want or need in retirement.
6. Diversify. Depending on your situation, consider various avenues – IRAs, 401K’s, bonds, credit union and bank savings, money market accounts, CDs, mutual funds, and stocks can all be good investments or savings vehicles, and there are other options. Talk to a financial adviser about what is best for you.
7. Look at life insurance. This protection guarantees funds for survivors. Types of life insurance may also build cash values for other uses during your retirement years. Life insurance can provide important funds for final costs and support for survivors rather than depleting life savings when a death occurs.

It is very possible you will live 20 years or more beyond retirement. Do not forget to think about, and plan for, your future too.

JAMES WAGNER JR. is a State Farm insurance agent with an office in LaPlace.