Will you have enough saved to retire?

401(k) plans were over-hyped when they were launched and gave employers a way to reduce spending on pension plans; a double-whammy that's going to affect your retirement

If the stats in this Wall Street Journal piece are any indi­ca­tion, you won’t.

Will you have enough to retire?

In 2013, near­ly half of US Households didn’t even have a retire­ment sav­ings account. For those that do, the amount saved isn’t near­ly enough to fund retire­ment. Especially as we live longer:

And the sav­ings gap is wors­en­ing. Fifty-two per­cent of U.S. house­holds are at risk of run­ning low on mon­ey dur­ing retire­ment, based on pro­jec­tions of assets, home prices, debt lev­els and Social Security income, accord­ing to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. That is up from 31% of house­holds in 1983. Roughly 45% of all house­holds cur­rent­ly have zero saved for retire­ment, accord­ing to the National Institute on Retirement Security.

The way Americans prepare for retirement is, well, uniquely American

The thing is, we’re not approach­ing the prob­lem cor­rect­ly. I often joke about Americans who trav­el into non-English speak­ing coun­tries. When they meet peo­ple who don’t speak English, they repeat what they’re say­ing (in English) slow­er and loud­er. Talking slow­er and loud­er doesn’t won’t make some­one under­stand English if they don’t speak the lan­guage.

Talking slow­er and loud­er won’t make some­one save for retire­ment if they don’t speak the lan­guage of mon­ey. And why should they if it’s not taught in schools and not prop­er to speak about at home?

I go around the coun­try. The thing that peo­ple are ter­ri­fied about is run­ning out of mon­ey,” says Phyllis C. Borzi, a U.S. Labor Department assis­tant sec­re­tary and retire­ment-income expert.

It’s a lit­tle eas­i­er say­ing it than doing it,” he says.

Of course it’s eas­i­er to say than do… the met­rics we use deter­mine our invest­ing suc­cess don’t moti­vate the behav­ior we want to encour­age (they help us pay our tax­es… but that’s anoth­er sto­ry).

Metrics used 2 judge invest­ing suc­cess don’t moti­vate habits need­ed to build sus­tain­able wealth Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing. You can see it in the arti­cle too –

Financial experts rec­om­mend peo­ple amass at least eight times their annu­al salary to retire.

By mea­sur­ing the pile of mon­ey you save, you still need to fac­tor in how much of it you can spend, the tim­ing of sell­ing, growth rates, future infla­tion, health­care expens­es, emer­gen­cies, and so on… all of which are at best rough guess­es.

We don’t ask our employ­ers how much they’ll pay us in aggre­gate as long as we work? We ask for a salary, a pay­check. We may try to under­stand how an employ­er han­dles rais­es and pro­mo­tions so we can get a sense of expect­ed salary growth. Then, based on our pay­check and career prospects we cre­ate a finan­cial life that bal­ances our needs and our income.

Why can’t we do that with an invest­ing port­fo­lio? (Oh wait, you can.)

Why do we mea­sure an invest­ment port­fo­lio dif­fer­ent­ly from a “side busi­ness” that gen­er­ates income? Because of tax­es? Well, we can pay our tax­es AND mea­sure things that help moti­vate the behav­ior we want to encour­age — long term sav­ings that grow sus­tain­able wealth.

If you’re curi­ous how to track mea­sure­ments of your portfolio’s suc­cess that moti­vate long term wealth build­ing, sign up for my free 5-part email course that walks you through four key met­rics and how to track them in a Google Doc (because Google Docs can eas­i­ly link to mar­ket data that makes track­ing your invest­ments less bur­den­some).

Money Making Money

I wrote a free email course specif­i­cal­ly for peo­ple who want to get start­ed invest­ing. In it, I will teach you how to get start­ed with as lit­tle as $10 using Stockpile, and then walk you through my unique met­rics designed for you to have fun and stay moti­vat­ed to build a healthy invest­ing habit.

Course atten­dees can down­load a spread­sheet tem­plate that I’ve cre­at­ed to high­light these met­rics. I even share a tuto­r­i­al that you can use to set­up your own track­er.

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If you don’t own any stock, or want to get start­ed in a mod­est way, the course intro­duces you to Stockpile, the most fric­tion­less way to get start­ed invest­ing (and to gift stock to oth­ers so that you can give the gift of a finan­cial edu­ca­tion to those you love). Stockpile will even give you $5 to get start­ed.


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