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Facing Retirement and You’re Broke

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I was talking with an associate the other day as we were compiling “tips for seniors” information and she related this story to me:

“15 years ago, Hubby lost his job, we had to live on  our small retirement savings, lost the side business we were building and had no idea how unprepared we would be as retirement years approached. 

While we were able to  live comfortably with new jobs,  put 5 kids through college (thanks to scholarships), support church missions and contribute to weddings… we had no retirement money set aside- then Obama Care hit and that sucked out incredible amounts of  paycheck money to pay for health insurance and Hubby’s job changed as the university he worked at was cutting hours for teachers to avoid Affordable Care Act requirements. 

Most seniors preparing to retire today do not have enough socked away.  A GAO analysis finds that among households with members aged 55 or older, nearly 29 percent have neither retirement savings nor a traditional pension plan.

We felt we were slipping farther and farther

We were afraid of the stock market, especially after the 2008 crash and always had expenses that outpaced our motives to save. 

We did invest in a condo in Mexico back in the 90’s along with Hubby’s parents and brother.  We never even went to the time share.  It was bull shit. Little did we know that the financial planner that our folks had used for years and years had been scammed by a guy who – probably had good intentions to do things the right way – but it got away from him and turned into a financial boogey scheme.  Boom – before we knew it- this guy was in federal prison and the lawyers sucked out of the liquidations of properties up to 60% of the proceeds and more than 1,500 investor got literally pennies on the dollar.  

Put that in perspective: Our family – 3 of us invested $150,000 in a time share condo in Mexico. Yes, it did exist and my Hubby’s Mom would get the rent dividends for a couple of years. Then the checks stopped coming and she died. We got letter after letter from lawyers. It dragged on for years.  We then received a promise of $48,000 from  the restitution fund.  Okay that was exciting – we would split that with Hubby’s brother.  The date for proceeds to be distributed took another 2 years.  

Then shock – we got a check in the mail for $3,402.00 with a promise that another distribution would come in another year. 

Okay – we can wait for the balance  of approx $44,000 to come… we would just put it in savings. The much anticipated final distribution check did arrive 16 months later. That check was only $342.00.  $342.00 that’s all.

We got screwed.  

So with retirement looming we had to make some serious changes.  No one wants to retire broke. “

Many homeowners believed they would just use the equity in their homes to fund retirement and neglected even having a 90 day emergency fund.

So – If this sounds like you ?  You are not alone.  If you have only social security to look forward to- some serious changes in your life style need to take place in order to get control of your future.

Let’s get started in changing your money view.  I’m with you – saving money is ridiculously impossible for me. I am rotten at it.  I have serious savings/budget issues as well and I don’t want to retire broke.

There are really some easy things to start with for you to retire inspired

  •  know when you want to retire- what year or maybe you’re already there.
  •  How much do you want to have each month to live off of…. oops, I mean what you need !
  •  Find out from Social Security how much you will be receiving when you retire.
  • Do the math – take that amount of monthly money and subtract it from the amount you believe you will need to live off of.
  • Look at any annuities/ savings vehicles you have now that will provide cash out or an income.   Make a list of your what you have coming.
  •  Review death benefits – If you don’t have a policy now for a minimum of burial costs. get one now.  There are interesting strategies regarding whole life policies at this stage in life as a savings vehicle , where they may not have been a good idea before. policy rates go up a lot after age 64.
  • Start saving a 90 day emergency fund. Just put pennies in a jar to begin with.
  • Sign up for a fractional investment app that lets you invest $10.00 in big companies. I use www.stockpile.com  You can easily move small amounts of money at a time. Instead of going out to lunch move that $10.00 into a stock pick you like.  Did you ever imagine you could buy ( a piece of )Amazon stock for $10 ???
  • Payoff credit card debt. Dave Ramseys snowball plan is the easiest way (we’ll save bankruptcy for another day)
  • Cut out the extras in your life. You know what they are. Put that money aside.
  • Track in an easy app, every penny you spend so you know where your money is going.  I use spending tracker– it’s free. It’s right on my phone and so easy to use. You can download  it on google play  . 

Let’s start with that list.  Don’t be discouraged, be encouraged. The greatest adventure of your life is ahead. You can live with happiness and joy even if you don’t spend every day of retirement golfing.

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There’s are many resources out there to help people plan for retirement  who are young and have lot’s of time ahead of them. But not a heck of a lot out there for those of us who are retiring broke.

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