Step Five: Your Retirement Responsibilities

Look at what you have accomplished at this point. You have attacked your debt and it is gone. You have taken the extra money and now have a fully funded emergency fund. You have already done the hard part, but now it is time to make sure that you are financially secure for rest of your life. It is not time to take all that extra money and go spend it all on a trip to Las Vegas. 

Retirement means different things to different people. To some, it means that they can save enough money so they can quit a job they hate. I hope that is not your situation, but if it is, now is the time to create a five-year plan to move into whatever it is you have always wanted to do. Life is too short to spend forty years doing something we hate.

Personally, I believe that retirement means I have the financial security to choose to work if that is what I feel like doing, that I have the financial security to travel if that is what I feel like doing, or that I have the financial security to just go fishing. That can only happen if you have a plan.

Unfortunately, a majority of people do not have a plan. Just look at these studies:

  • USA Today reported that 56 percent of Americans don't systematically invest for retirement.
     
  • The Consumer Federation of America found that 40 percent of people who make less than $35,000 a year think the best way to have $500,000 at retirement is to win the Lotto. Sad.
     
  • Wealth Builder magazine did a poll that found 80 percent of Americans believe their standard of living will go UP at retirement. When did so many people start living in fantasy land?
     
  • Bankruptcies among those sixty-five and older are up 164 percent in the last eight years.
     
  • USA Today reported that out of one hundred people age sixty-five, only three percent can write a check for $600, fifty-four percent are will working, and only three percent are financially secure.

If you want to be in that three percent, then you must make a plan and stick to it. Trust me, life starts accelerating the older you get and retirement is here before you realize it. You must act now.