Despite the desire to stop working one day, many Americans do not begin retirement financial planning until they have been working for a number of years. With the high cost of living, it is important for people to begin setting aside money as soon as possible for their lives after they are finished working. A recent study shows that about four out of five full-time employees have access to a company-sponsored 401k or similar investment strategy. On the other hand, more than four out of ten Americans have no pension or long-term savings. No matter your method of saving, there are numerous reasons why you should start today.
You Are Going To Live Longer
In 1950, around when many of the baby-boomer generation was born, the average life expectancy for an American was just over 68 years. As of 2010, that number has increased to 78.7 years. So what does life expectancy have to do with retirement financial planning? The longer you live, the more money you will need to survive. In 1950, if you retired at 50, on average you would need enough savings to live for about 20 more years. Today you need enough savings for approximately three more decades.
Social Security Is Not Enough
The average American receiving social security gets about $16,000 per year or around $1,250 a month. For the vast majority of Americans, this is nowhere near enough money to comfortably live on. Furthermore, you cannot begin to receive social security benefits until you are at least 62 years of age. That means if you retire earlier than that, you will have to rely entirely upon your own personal savings, 401k, or pension.
Retirees Face Higher Health Care Costs
Along with regular expenses such as a mortgage payment, groceries, insurance, and entertainment, retirees are also faced with the ever increasing cost of health care. On top of health insurance premiums, an American couple of retiring age, say 65, can expect to pay nearly $600 per month on average for routine medical procedures, check-ups, and medications. At age 75 that cost will be over $700 per month.
Retiring Should Be Enjoyable
So far we have discussed all of the negatives associated with not having proper retirement financial planning. Now let’s look at what you can do with a secure plan. As mentioned above, people are living longer lives than ever before. This, coupled with no work, means enormous amounts of time for leisure activities. If you are financially secure, this can mean visiting out of town relatives on a regular basis, taking vacations across the country and globe, and even indulging in high-end restaurants on a regular basis.
In short, retirement financial planning is a necessity for a healthy, stress-free, and timely retirement. The earlier and more you save, the less you will have to worry in your later years.