An “A-ha” Moment
I’ve never been retired, but I’ve been unemployed for nearly 9 months and it got me to thinking. There may be millions of retired people trying to live off of roughly the same amount I receive in unemployment benefits! It felt like a genuine epiphany, a fresh peek into how many others might be living at this very moment… and I have to admit it was very sobering.
I’m blessed with a spouse and therefore an extra income, so my personal situation varies slightly from the point I’m trying to make. But if I were single, it’s obvious to me how tough it would be to survive financially. Especially when I consider the cost of living in my region. I live in the DC area, and more specifically in Loudoun County. Loudoun is one of the fastest growing counties in the entire country, placing in the top 5 annually for the last 7 years or so.
Even so, my jobless benefits only give about 45% of what I was making in my last job. That’s right. Less. Than. Half.
401-QUAKES & Pension Penal Systems
In the wake of this recession, where millions lost their entire 401k savings and other retirement investments, can you imagine how many people retired only to discover they couldn’t make a living off of what was in their accounts?
Most of the newly retired folks that I speak with usually point out the initial sticker shock they had when they got that very first pension check. It’s usually anywhere from a 30% to 45% DECREASE from the salary they were drawing on a monthly basis… and these are the ones that have the proper nest egg to live comfortably. (Or so they thought)
Can you imagine then, what it would be like to go into retirement with insufficient funds? “Insufficient Funds” should only be printed on an ATM receipt when you’re living check to check, it should NOT be a retirement strategy! But then again, many who are ill-prepared for retirement can’t blame it on the economy at all. Poor money management and spending habits in your adult working lifetime will very easily translate into the rest of your retired life.
So I guess at the end of the day, the 2 can seem similar but for me I suppose the silver lining is two-fold:
1 I won’t be unemployed for the rest of my life. The last job I worked is not the LAST job I’ll ever work! Once I get back to earning a decent wage, we can resume with eliminating our debt.
2 Once we’re debt-free our focus will be to truly setup a NICE nest egg in a Roth IRA, and some Growth-Stock Mutual Funds.
But for now, if you don’t mind it’s time for me to retire because I’ve been up all night writing this post. *rimshot*