On yesterday's program, we talked about how unprepared America is for retirement. Survey after survey shows this to be the case. According to most surveys, it is a matter of focusing on the average American retirement savings balance. Is that the best data point to determine if someone is on track? I don't think so. I think that it is misleading and creating unnecessary financial anxiety for two reasons.
First, you can't know whether you are on track without doing a financial assessment to see where you are today. You can't say with confidence that you are on track or not without these numbers, and the vast majority of people don't have a simple plan.
Second, it is not about what you have done in your past that is important. It is about what you do in the present and going forward that matters.
I have talked to many people and assessed many situations over the past almost three decades and found that the vast majority of people were wrong about the notion that they would never retire. With a little bit of creativity, there is some type of retirement plan there for everyone.
So, let's stop listening to pop culture finance telling us that we are not prepared and figure this out once and for all. Here are the questions that you need to ask and work with your current financial adviser (assuming that he or she does this type of analysis), or you are welcome to work with Prudent Money (more on this below) to help you navigate through these questions.
What are the dates of birth for you and your spouse or just yourself?
How many years do you have to save until retirement?
What amount, plus employer contributions, can you save a year?
What are the social security numbers for you and your spouse at age 66/67 and age 70?
What about any pension plan payouts or annuity payouts you are due to receive? What amount at what age?
What are the expenses each month in today's dollars that you need to cover at retirement? (don't get hung up on this one – ballpark average monthly expense in today's dollars)
How many years of retirement do you want to cover?
The key is to know your unknowns. It goes a long way to clear up financial anxiety.
One of the resources of Prudent Money is to run these numbers for you at no cost in order to create a simple assessment and plan.
The average American is being left out of the process because the investment business says you don't have enough. As I said, it is important what you do going forward. We want to change that outcome. IF you want some help, let's schedule a phone call by emailing Amanda@prudentmoney.com. There are no strings attached and it is completely FREE. We ask that if you ever need an advisor, you would consider Prudent Money in the process.