The National Institute on Retirement Security produces research studies, and their primary focus is, you guessed it, retirement. They published a study in June 2013 entitled “The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is It Worse Than We Think?” It was startling to read through the key findings of the report. If you get a chance, take a look at the report, and even if you’re not in the financial services business, the data is alarming. They produced another study in December 2013 about Race and Retirement, and that study was even more frightening. Honestly, year after year, the updates on the data they produce doesn’t get much better.
The first key finding from that report stated that 38 million working households have NO retirement account assets at all. The sad thing, that number includes workers who are offered a retirement plan through their employer but who refuse to put any money into the plan. It’s understandable that some companies do not offer a retirement plan. Thus the individual is responsible for setting something up on their own. If your employer offers you a retirement plan and you’re not putting any money into it, you need to have a serious discussion with yourself or someone about why. If you don’t know how to get started or have the slightest idea about what you’re doing, your benefits department will be more than happy to assist you. They’re providing you the 401k or some other retirement plan, and they will gladly walk you each step of the way. If not them, then the plan sponsor (the company hired to offer the retirement plan) can provide you that assistance. Please make that phone call, send an email, find a co-worker who understands the retirement plan, do something.
For those people who are not offered a retirement plan through their employer, then you must seek out someone on your own to help get you squared away. There isn’t a shortage of financial services professionals in this country. And if you don’t want a professional’s help, there are a plethora of do-it-yourself options available. Either way, there is absolutely no good reason as to why you shouldn’t have some of your money in a retirement account. If you are still unsure why this is of the utmost importance, ask yourself one question. After all your working years, wouldn’t you like to have something to show for all those hours you worked??
Retirement planning applies to every working individual in this country. If you’re just starting in your career, then time is on your side. It doesn’t take a ton of time for you to do this, but it does involve committing. So many people say that they don’t have time to do this planning, which is bologna. There is more than enough time within a year (8766 hours) for you to work on your retirement plan. Not taking your retirement plan serious is just not cool. There are similar studies done and year after year, and the data never seems to improve. We can most certainly do better only by asking ourselves one simple question.
How much time did you spend this year or last year planning for your retirement?