In a new segment, The Retirement Reality, talks with everyday baby boomers about their personal retirement reality. In this segment, Paula Lee, a 60 year old woman, approaching retirement, shares her retirement planning experience and talks about what she hopes to pass on to younger generations.
The Retirement Reality (TRR): How old were you when you first started thinking about your retirement?
Paula: I started considering my retirement when I was 35 because I was starting a family and beginning to take on a larger financial burden.
TRR: Do you have an employee sponsored retirement plan and if so when did you begin using it?
Paula: I began using my employee sponsored in my late twenties/early thirties. I opened a 401(k) account at that time. I also have an IRA. I wish I had started planning earlier, but no one educated me about the importance of financial planning and I didn’t seek out the information myself. Now I find myself more concerned about the retirement because the markets are down.
TRR: At what age do you plan to retire?
Paula: I always thought I was going to retire at 65, but now I am leaning more towards 70. I love my job and I’m healthy, so I don’t see the point in stopping work at an earlier age. I also want to maintain my standard of living throughout my retirement and working longer will help me do so.
TRR: Do you have any baby boomer friends who were significantly affected by poor retirement planning?
Paula: I actually do know a couple who retired in their early sixties and had spent their retirement savings within a few years of retiring. They are now working at a local restaurant to make ends meet, which is extremely different from the lifestyle they were living before retirement.
TRR: If you could give any advice to younger generations, what would it be?
Paula: Start saving for your retirement early and educate yourself about employee sponsored plans and other retirement vehicles. As your salary increases, continue to increase the amount you put in your savings account. Retirement may seem far off, but it will hit you sooner than expected.
This year, the first of 79 million baby boomers will turn 65, while four million boomers will turn 60 each year for the next 18 years. For many of these boomers, retirement planning has become the forefront of their concerns.