Retirement: Short on Money, Long on Time?, Part 1
Growing older in uncertain times.
Serious problems now face those of us who have saved and planned for retirement. We're seeing our investments dissolve before our eyes; at the same time, we're realizing that we're going to live longer than we ever imagined (or planned for). To take a line from a song by Paolo Nutini, we suddenly find ourselves "short on money and long on time" - or, to take a cue from Paul Simon, "the nearer our destination, the more we're slip sliding away."
I'm a prime example: On December 31, 2007, at age 64, I retired after a 40-year stint at the same law firm, unintentionally flinging myself into the teeth of a market maelstrom from which many predict we won't recover for at least 4 to 5 years. The Presidential candidates promise either "change" or "change you can believe in." When I look at my retirement portfolio, I see "change," all right: It's worth a fraction of what I started out with 2 years ago.
Government intervention may have temporarily stopped a rapid descent into the abyss, but long-term uncertainty is still the order of the day, particularly for those who seek to retire or those who may soon be forced to do so. But the situation may not be as bad as it seems: Many prospective retirees suffer unnecessary fear and anxiety as a result of widespread misinformation.
I'm neither a CFA nor a financial advisor - just a fellow Minyan trying to help prospective and recent Minyan retirees get a grip on a difficult situation and start a dialogue among members of the Minyanville community.
Readers are encouraged to respond to this article by posting comments -- along with additional ideas on how Minyan retirees (and prospective retirees) can see themselves through this difficult time -- on the MV Exchange.
The suggestions in this article apply to those who have enjoyed 6-figure incomes prior to retirement. I don't have any suggestions for those earning less. I can only hope that they have secure pensions, the ability and willingness to work longer than they'd planned, and have put enough away in a 401K plan or IRA which, together with Social Security payments, will see them through.
Regrettably, I know this isn't the case for many.
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