#ira #401(k), #retirement #savings
The share of American families that have IRAs or 401(k) retirement plans has spiraled down in the past decade, while the amount of assets in the accounts of people who have them has been climbing during that time.
So reported Tim Grant of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, quoting the Washington, D.C., based Employee Benefit Research Institute. It reported that the percentage of all families with an individual retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k), decreased from 52.8 percent in 2001 to 48.2 percent in 2013.
“For many families, individual account retirement plan savings constitute most of whatever financial assets they have,” Grant quotes Craig Copeland, senior research associate at EBRI.
The bevy of concerns these numbers produce is staggering. What will happen to fewer than 50 percent of the 76 million Baby Boomers, who for the next 18 years will be turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 a day? Grant quotes Thomas Mackell, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Va., who believes many people are unable to save for long-term financial needs because U.S. wages have gone down, not up.
Yet, Grant quotes Mackell, those who have had the ability to save for retirement have benefited from a rising stock market.
Certainly, during the recent Great Recession, many have tapped into their retirement plans early, just to survive. But, they will pay a potentially huge price for that decision down the road.
When one is in middle age and loses a job, and can’t readily find another – or at least one that pays as well as the one he lost – he can feel very desperate. Not only has he lost current income, he potentially has lost the pension he was counting on. Social Security alone isn’t going to provide anyone with a good retirement.
If you are feeling desperate and are tempted to liquidate your retirement savings, stop! Get some financial counseling. Find a way to get through your rough times without sacrificing your future.
Remember, people are living longer. Retirement periods are lasting longer. Don’t let your money run out before you die.
Fortunately, for as many concerns about retirement savings that the ERBI numbers raise, there are many solutions as well. There are many ways to make a potentially great income that have nothing to do with traditional employment. For one of the best, visit
Not every income solution is for everyone, so examine them with care. But don’t shy away from looking if you believe you have to dip into your retirement savings early.
If you are young, start an IRA or 401(k) immediately. If you can, contribute the maximum amount you are allowed to. It wouldn’t hurt to check out other income streams, too, because even if you have a great job now, don’t expect it to be there for your lifetime.
Most of all, as we plunge headlong into the holiday season, first and foremost, be grateful for the good things you have in your life. If you are having financial issues, don’t hesitate to ask for – and look for — help. Don’t do anything rash with your money. Think not only about today, but the many years you potentially have left to live.
It’s not good to solving a financial problem today by messing up your financial future. The “help” you thought you were going to get in your elder years may not be there when you need it. YOU have to act, and the sooner, the better.
Live as well as you can for as long as you can. Remember, everything in life is about your choices. Choose wisely.

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