;gi;g wisely Assembling the ssential pieces for a secure future
JUST HOW OLD ARE YOU? Ask yourself what your age will be on your next birthday, and whether the answer is 30, 60 or some age in between, it will likely come with a twinge of realization that ime is passing by quickly—maybe faster than you’d like.
When you’re young, a driver’s license, the drinking age and
voting are on your radar; other age issues are for later.
In middle age, there are tons of distractions. Money tends to
get allocated to the kids’ education in lieu of preparing for your
golden years. After all, that’s still a long way off.
If you’re in the “sandwich generation”—caring for both kids
and aging parents—you may be additionally distracted by the
challenges your parents are facing. How can you help them
through the needed transitions?
Or maybe you’re facing those same transitions yourself,
looking at a picture puzzle with many important pieces still missing—an estate to protect and preserve, changes in living space,
medical concerns and wealth sustainment. Will you have enough
to get as far as you’re going if age 90 really is the new 75?
The Connection recently asked readers to voice their con-
cerns about aging and retirement. Three thousand readers
weighed in with several common interests that a panel of experts
addresses here with tips and guidance.—David Wight
Finance comes first By Eric Tyson THE EARLIER YOU START planning for your financial future, the more years you’ll have to accomplish your goals. But, no matter your age, the better you plan, the better your options will be.
If you’re in the early years of being in the
full-time workforce, here’s how to get on the
path to financial success:
☞ Get in the habit of saving and
investing. Ideally, your savings should be
directed into retirement accounts, such as
employer-based 401(k) plans, that offer tax
benefits, unless you want to accumulate down-payment money for a home or small-business
purchase. Start saving and investing money
beginning with your first paycheck. Try saving 5 percent of every paycheck and then
eventually 10 percent. A fund of funds (such
as a life-cycle fund) is a simple and highly
diversified way to get started. If you’re having
trouble saving money, track your spending
and make cutbacks as needed.
☞ Get insured. When you’re young
and healthy, imagining yourself feeling otherwise is hard. But because accidents and unexpected illnesses can strike at any age, forgoing
health coverage can be financially devastating. When you’re in your first full-time job
with limited benefits, buying disability coverage, which replaces income lost due to a long-term disability, is also wise.
☞ Continue your education. After you
get out in the workforce, you may realize how
little you learned in formal schooling that can
actually be used in the real world, and, conversely, how much you need to learn (such as
personal financial management) that school
never taught you. Read, learn and continue to
grow. Continuing education can help you
advance in your career and enjoy the world
Heading toward retirement
If you spent the bulk of your adult life
working, retiring can be a challenging transition. Most Americans have an idealized