Margit’s Note: Are We Halfway to the Rainy Day?
I don’t plan on retiring. Or maybe I’ve just never put much thought into it. Ok, let’s be honest. I actively avoid thinking about it.
My mom, a septuagenarian, still works and my Dad, just a bit older than that (though he’s told me he’s 29 for as long as I can remember) only recently retired in the last few years. He still does volunteer work at such a clip that it might as well be a full-time job. They love what they do, it isn’t exactly work, it’s a livelihood. I feel the same way about my work — writing, editing and making fabulous web sites. So why retire?
I know — life has a way of interrupting the best laid plans. I’m hopeful I can do what I do until I keel over and, ideally, get paid for it. It’s a terrible course of action. It’s the classic Gen-X approach to retirement: “Gen-X is sleeping through its retirement wake-up call. Starting to turn 50, they’re acting like they’re 30.” Who, me?
Don’t get me wrong. I worry. As I creep toward 50, I worry about my energy, my relevancy. As DINKs there aren’t any kiddies to fall back on — but they’re also not draining our resources. And then there are the savings. Right. My husband has some. I have some. I have a meager 401k (still under an old employer’s plan that I need to move somewhere else) that would last me about a year. I make a decent salary now and could keep that up for a while, maybe. I have a spouse who might still be around but none of these are rock solid sure bets. Anything could happen, as I well know. Even when you plan for the worst. So if anything could happen, why plan!?
According to a TransAmerica/ Harris Poll survey in 2015, “45% of Gen X workers prefer not to think about or concern themselves with retirement investing until they get closer to their retirement date, up from 35% in 2011.”
This is the exact time we should be formulating a rock solid plan for our future… but I keep envisioning a rusty camper surrounded by pink flamingos in Naples and ladies at the card table planning for another edition of TueNight. “Sexy at 70!”
“Naples?!” My husband is peeking over my shoulder as I write this, horrified. “No, our comfortable house in the woods. Traveling. Meeting people in faraway places.”
I’m glad one of us has a better plan. Maybe my husband and I should talk more…
This week we’re concerning ourselves with retirement:
- When Susan Ito’s husband retired (and she didn’t), everything changed.
- Lauren Young shows us how to have the money chat with mom and dad, sooner rather than later.
- Penny Wrenn is packing it in at 39 — and she’s throwing her own retirement party.
- Courtney Colwell is currently planning for disaster.
- Beth Arky looks at the shuttering of More magazine and the retirement of print.
- And in my latest Ovarian Rhapsody column, I retire my hair. Call me cueball.
And now I will retire to the study. Too much retirement talk.
(Photo credit: Stocksy.com)
Do not leave that money in your old company’s retirement plan! Look what’s happening at Freedom Communications. When they filed for bankruptcy reorganization, it put the company into play, and the pension plan in jeopardy. The two companies interested in buying Freedom’s assets at auction – Tribune Co. and Digital First Media – did not include assuming pension obligations in their purchase proposals. As a result, the pension obligation is likely to be turned over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. According to Wikipedia (I know, you could do more research if you wanted), PBGC paid $5.6 billion to retirees of similar failed single-payer pension funds in 2015, and is running at a $76 billion deficit. It’s not in danger of failing, but who knows what could happen if more companies follow the same path.
TLDR version – Don’t trust your retirement money to live happily ever after in a pension account run by a publisher or other company in a transitioning or otherwise shaky industry. Get it out now and roll it directly into a SEP-IRA you manage yourself.
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