It used to be you retired at age 65 and died by age 72. Now, your retirement is sometimes as long as your working career.
Alas, most Americans fail to plan adequately for retirement. Because of this poor planning, they often miss out on opportunities to enjoy the second half of life.
On Tuesday, April 9, 2018, David John Marotta appeared on Radio 1070 WINA’s Schilling Show to discuss how to achieve success and significance in retirement by both adequately saving for retirement and finding fulfillment during that period of your life.
Listen to the audio here:
Retirement planning should begin the moment you receive your first paycheck. If you start at age 25, simply getting your 401(k) match funds about 64.2% of your retirement. By age 35, you really should have saved twice your salary. In fact, you need to save 15% of your take home pay each year to stay on track. If you are behind, you need to save more.
Alas, many have not saved anything. As reported by Dana Larson , “An estimated 79% of Americans work for an employer that provides a retirement plan, yet new research from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that only 41% of those employees contribute to their retirement plans.” And elsewhere, CNN reported , “About 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have absolutely nothing saved for retirement.”
No one is just going to give you free money. You need to work hard for it, and you need to save. For your savings to succeed, savings must be regular, automatic, and adequate.
Fear of the markets or lack of a financial education sometimes wrongly keeps people away from investing. However, the main reasons your retirement might fail does not include investment performance.
Hard work is the best gift you can give to your future self at any age. Your life will not be as satisfying if you never achieve financial freedom, and your retirement will not be satisfying if it is just a life of leisure. You need to devote yourself to a frugal working career, and then you need to find an encore career, a life calling for the financial freedom portion of your life.
The best zoos can prolong the lives of the animals by creating ways for them to work for their food. The zoos introduce stress into the animals’ lives to keep them healthy. At the San Francisco Zoo, for example, the zookeepers hide the gorillas’ food all around their enclosure, scattering it across the ground, trees and bushes, making the apes spend the whole afternoon hunting for it.
I recommend reading Marc Freedman’s book Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. His book encourages everyone passing 50 to find their calling in the second half of life and focus on what matters most. I asked Freedman what he considers the most significant aspect of those over 50 finding a calling for the second half of their life. He answered, “When you reach the point in your life where you can celebrate the freedom to work instead of the freedom from work, that’s success. If just a fraction of people in the second half of life turn their experience, time and talent to our nation’s most pressing challenges, imagine the progress we could make.”
Although you can have that attitude at any age, it is especially powerful when redefining the second half of life.
Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash