Money Wise--Getting Ready for Retirement, Part 2 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/06/03

Money Wise--Getting Ready for Retirement, Part 2

We all know how important it is to save for retirement. The problem is many of us just aren't doing it. It is quite important to start putting aside at least something, and if you don't start now, you could end up working through your senior years, not because you want to but because you have to make ends meet.

Thousands of senior citizens are working through their retirement years to take the burden off their day-to-day finances. And still, too many from the younger generation know little about preparing for the later years.

"I really don't understand it," said student Rena Dixon.

"Us being college students, we really don't know a lot about retirement," added fellow student Amanda Robinson.

Barry Driggers is a financial planner in Savannah. He works with several people who didn't prepare properly for retirement.

"You have to have a plan," he said. "People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan. They take things for granted, they float along thinking something good will happen."

Which is exactly how most people end up living solely off of social security benefits. But for those who are even just a decade away from retiring, even that may not be an option.

"It would be wise not to plan for social security," said Driggers. "You need to try to plan to take care of it yourself. If it is there, that's fine, but you don't want to depend on that."

So, how do you go about doing it? There's the 401K offered by most employers, but so many people just don't take advantage of it.

"You would be surprised," said Driggers, "putting $5 a week into a retirement vehicle of some type, how much of that money will grow over time."

Driggers says what you should do look into all of your options, and understand them. If it takes making a trip to a financial planner to get that accomplished, then do it.

"As soon as your able to start putting money aside, the earlier you do it, the earlier it is, the more that you will have," noted Driggers.

And the other thing is: don't count on cash that isn't there.

"Many people make the mistake, 'I'll wait till I get some money and I'll invest it,'" said Driggers. "That's usually not a good rule of thumb. Even if it's a small portion, put it aside and at least systematically in the retirement years, that money will be there."

Even in the unstable economy, the least you can do right now is just look into your retirement and your options for plans. That way at least you're getting started. Because Driggers says he's seen too many people go from what they wanted--to have a comfortable retirement--to heading right back to work. 

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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