Sucky Adult Thing #1343: Planning for Retirement

Mann RetirementYes. You did come to the right blog today. No poop or sleep posts. Today I want to talk about something we don’t really want to talk about…planning for retirement. I just saw you shudder…it’s ok. It isn’t thrilling but ya know, it is a necessity. Working mom or not, it is still looming down the road. With my generation still tunneling out from student loans( 20,000 is the average), it is hard to think about saving MORE money but you really have to.

“On average, each of us spends 83,000 hours working – and less than 10 hours planning for retirement. ” –  Harvard Human Resources

Yes. I am 30 but as I stated in my post about saving for college, my money isn’t just for lattes and iPads. We are constantly watching our money for the future. Seeing my mom and inlaws in retirement, I have to say…if you plan right, it looks freakin sweet. Lucky for me, my company has awesome planning resources and programs. I honestly haven’t had to think much about it. We had our accounts looked at by a financial adviser friend and we seem pretty well established.

That being said, a few months back I was approached by My Retirement Education Center, a company here in the Triangle, to review a retirement seminar. A 1 hour lunch and learn event to hear about retirement planning. After much maternity leave, I took them up on the offer and headed out to their facility for some learning. I have to say that financial matters are not my forte. I can program, make a mean lasagna, race trains like a kick ass mom but when it comes to investing and such? I am dumb. I have money in mutual funds, 401Ks, Roth IRAs but all because someone else did it for me. I really have no clue how that magic works. I find myself googling silly simple terms and still not knowing what it means. I am an Econ failure. So going into the seminar, I was a little nervous. Would they talk over my head? Would they found out how dumb I really am? I am glad to say, my secret was safe. The owner, Steve, greeted me on arrival and made me very comfortable. The session I went to ended up being with 1 other blogging mom (who knew?) and we seemed to have similar setups. Both working moms with littles and money to invest (no outstanding debt). Steve presented us a great presentation, with lunch!, about all the basics of retirement. How 401K plans work. How to take advantage of the best packages depending on how long you have until retirement. Who you need on your “team” as a young professional trying to navigate the financial game. I even snuck in some “dumb” questions and he was happy to answer and relieve my nerves. I have to say I learned a good bit and if I still don’t know, I know which person to ask (Steve!).

One thing I learned that made total sense was social security was created with the idea that a person would live an average of 2 years past retirement. People live WAY beyond that now. So when planning your retirement, it is important to figure out when you plan to retire. Are you a early retiree or older? This will guide you in everything you decide now. Do you plan to travel? Do you plan to have an encore career? It is hard to envision right now for some of us but it helps to have an idea. Oh and I probably will never see Social Security anyway. You’re welcome, old people.

The other big thing I learned was you need a team of pros to help you get the most of your money. You should consider at least a 3 member team of an attorney, CPA and an investment professional. You can’t expect yourself to do it all. You can’t know everything. Find people to help you. And Steve’s group can help! One of the greatest things about My Retirement Education Center is it’s mission to provide retirement expertise without a sales pitch. They are there to help you understand…not make money off of you. They aren’t taking a percentage of your investment. They genuinely want to help people understand money better. They have done the sales game for years and have decided this is better. Teaching. And that, is something I can admire.

So please take a few minutes to check out their website even if you don’t live in the Triangle area. It gets you thinking about it. His blog is also  a great compilation of quick tips and articles on saving that apply to us all. If you are in the area, consider a quick lunch seminar to learn more about your future. They offer a variety of classes. They also do larger groups on site at companies and groups upon request. They even do a weekend getaway at Grove Park Inn to get you away from the hustle and bustle of life to have a little fun and focus on learning.

Thanks again to Steve and the folks at My Retirement Education Center. The class was great and I am so happy there are people out there genuinely trying to help dumb people like me 🙂

Disclaimer: I was given a free lunch and learn session by My Retirement Education Center for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I truly believe in their services.


7 thoughts on “Sucky Adult Thing #1343: Planning for Retirement

  • October 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Good for you for getting all learned up. Not sure I agree about the team of pros (assuming they cost)…you’re a smart girl and make good choices but whatever floats your boat. Generally, save as much as you can as soon as you can and you’ll be good. 🙂 I think you will see some form of SS – I don’t think that’s going away completely. Our rule is 15% per year, and we stay pretty aggressive in terms of investments at this point in life.

  • October 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

    We’re with Jodi. We also contribute 15%. By the time we also put money in the kids’ 529s and made sure our liquid investments were adequate for an emergency as our expenses rose, it meant very little left while the kids were in day care. Now that the kids are out of day care, we are using that money to diversify into assets other than stocks and bonds as part of a long term investment strategy.

    I think it’s great to talk about money because people talk about everything else but don’t talk about money. That’s crazy to me! To me, your money values should line up with your life values. In my life, I don’t want to work in retirement and I don’t want to be a burden on my kids so I am taking steps now. That used to mean no Starbucks for me when things were lean.

    • October 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Ironically it was the post Brandy did about saving for college and trying so hard to provide that gift to our children – that they don’t have to come out with loans… that spurred us to really, REALLY jack those contributions up. Three kids – and my oldest is amost 12 – we do have some ground to make up. But it’s important to us, and we hadn’t really thought about the long term difference it could make for them until Brandy talked about it! So – times are really tight again NOW for us – when it was supposed to be at least a bit easier – but it’s worth it. 🙂 We made other choices (i.e. not moving again, refi to lower rate but way shorter term) that are contributing to the pain factor too – but in the long run, it matches our goals.

  • October 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I love that you brought this up! My only advice is to know for sure what Steve and his team are really getting out of it. You mentioned that they won’t take a percentage of your investments but they’ve got to be making money somewhere. Are they fee based? Or commission based? There is a big difference. I actually work for a Wealth Management firm in Denver and we help people manage their money in retirement. I see it every single day. The people that lived within their means and saved like crazy are living the good life in retirement. And I’m not talking about extravagance and luxury, I’m talking about a comfortable lifestyle that will last for their lifetime AND have a legacy left over for their heirs.

    You also mentioned a three person team and I definitely agree with you if it makes sense for your needs. I assume you mentioned the attorney to assist with Estate planning. As a young professional with a family it does make sense to get a will in place and the attorney can do that for you. Some for as low as $200-300 and then you can always revisit it as your needs change. As for a CPA, they may not be necessary when your tax situation is super easy but if you do have a number of investment accounts then getting a CPA involved during tax time can be a life saver. Lastly, an investment professional is key. But make sure they are a good fit for you. An advisor that is fee based, offers superior customer service regardless of your account size, takes the time to educate you, and has your best interest in mind, is what you are looking for. Although commission based advisors may do a good job the cost to you is often higher.

    Like I said, I see the vast difference of people’s retirement every single day. If you save now it can make a huge difference. You don’t want to be close to retirement to find out your money will only last until you are 70 years old, when most people are living well past that. This is a great post, Brandy! (sorry for the long winded comment)

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      AH yes. Steve and co are payed a fee for a session. Something like I went to is just $25. They don’t make investments for you…therefore no commission. They can recommend folks for you to talk to in that regard. Thanks for point that out. And great comment! See, I am money dumb.

  • October 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I like the awareness factor in which you presented this to your readers 🙂 I do have a finance background and am a numbers girl, but it’s a crap shoot when you are planning for unknowns other that knowing that you will need money for retirement and college for your kids, but don’t know your exact plans for either… showing your peeps places they can look into to just get educated is sheer awesome 🙂 Good job!!!

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