You Call That A Retirement Fund?
As the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Elliot demonstrates in a most unnerving way, your worst enemy and the biggest obstacle to your happiness is indecision. If you read that poem in high school English class, as many members of Generation X did, you probably focused on Prufrock’s inability to overcome his indecision and confess his feelings to the woman he admired, and at the end of the poem, he had nothing to show for his inaction except regrets. At your age now, the thing that stands out to you about the women in that room, so close but so far away, who come and go, talking of Michelangelo, is not their beauty and self-confidence, but their financial stability. Your indecision about finances could leave you full of regrets, wearing the bottoms of your trousers rolled, while thoughts of what could have been tormenting you. According to personal finance journalist Suze Orman, your procrastination about decision making can cost you dearly, and not just the fun thought exercise decisions that financial planners and estate planning lawyers often ask you to break the ice, like about how much you want your monthly retirement income to be or whether you get a bigger kick out of traveling or donating to charity. Even if you have been contributing to a retirement account since your 30s, or even younger, you are probably not saving enough, and it is time to visit an Orlando estate planning lawyer for a reality check.
An Emergency Fund Is Not a Retirement Fund, and You Need Both
An alarming statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average retiree has annual expenses of $46,000. Most people who are fortunate enough to contribute to a retirement fund were probably counting on their retirement expenses being much lower. Orman estimates that most people in their 50s are on track to save only enough money to fund three years of retirement, in other words, not even enough to last them until they turn 70. This is not even accounting for the fact that a lot of people, out of necessity, withdraw money from their retirement accounts. Furthermore, Orman thinks that three years’ worth of expenses is what you need for an emergency fund, since, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that six months is not the maximum duration of an emergency.
Decide Now About Aging in Place or Downsizing Your Home
So where are you going to find all this money to contribute to your emergency fund and your retirement fund? The best place is by reducing your housing costs over time. You should decide now whether you want to stay in your current house after you retire or move to a smaller one. If the former, put your efforts into paying off the mortgage several years before you retire, freeing up funds for retirement savings. If the latter, move now instead of later, if possible, so the proceeds of the sale have time to accrue interest in a savings account.
Contact Gierach and Gierach About Estate Planning Decisions That Will Have a Long-Term Impact
An estate planning lawyer can help you think realistically about your retirement and make strategic decisions. Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.