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Americans have to change their attitudes about retirement planning. Many think they can take their time, but that kind of thinking will not leave much of a nest egg. In years past, Americans would hold one job for 25 years then retire with a pension that could carry them through their golden years. That rarely happens these days. The rules of retirement planning have changed.
RULE NO. 1: You Must Start Now. The earlier you begin planning for your retirement the better off you’ll be. If you consistently save and invest over the 40 years most of us can expect to work, the results can be tremendously favorable. The small sums you save in your early 20s will have the full 40 years to work for you in the stock market. Remember, if you invested $1,000 in Microsoft stock in January 1985, with stock splits and dividends, your money would have grown to more than $334,000 by August 2005. That is after the big 1987 crash and the tech wreck of 2000. The key is finding companies you can grow with over 20 years.
RULE NO. 2: We’re Living Longer, So You’ll Need More Money When You Retire. People are living beyond 80 and 90, and chances are, you’ll be one of them. Living longer means dealing with an increasing cost of living after you stop working. This means that your retirement planning must ensure that you don’t run out of money in your golden years.
RULE NO. 3: Don’t Count On Social Security. With all the talk about privatizing Social Security, it’s almost certain that there will be some changes to the system before you are ready to retire. Whatever you receive from Social Security will most likely not be enough to pay your expenses. Your retirement planning must ensure that you are not dependent on it for survival.
RULE NO. 4: Manage Your Retirement Like You Manage Your Career. Without a career, where would you be? Without retirement savings, where will you be 20 or 30 years from now? Just as you must invest in your career and make the right moves daily to keep it on track, you must do the same with your retirement planning.
The following package is designed to help you start planning for your retirement, no matter what stage of life you are in. No one else will take on this responsibility for you. Turn the page and commit to taking action today. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your future.
Kiyon Spencer is wide-eyed and ready to take on life. The 22-year-old, who received his bachelor’s in entertainment production through an individualized study program at New York University last year, has been working at Fox cable television network. As a sales assistant in the advertising sales department, Spencer earns a base salary of $30,000 and lives in New York City with two roommates. He contributes 8% of his base pay to his 401(k), and his employer matches 50 cents of each dollar up to 6%.