PLANNING AHEAD

You’re 20yrs old, new job and making money. Are you planning for your retirement? Most will say they have lots of time, but let me tell you it will sneak up on you before you know it. One thing for sure; you can sit down and relax, take a vacation, forget about things but TIME never does. Time ticks on every second of every day. Next you have bought that first car, got married, getting a house and you think you can’t afford to save, but in the long run, after you are old and look back you will see where you could save, but by then it is too late. You got to have a plan, then you need plan “B” just in case plan “A” falls through.
I went to work for an outfit which if I stayed for 10 yrs I’d be vested for a retirement, so I started. At year 7 the outfit got sold and so went my retirement, yea I got the money I had put into it, but the long term goal was gone, so came plan “B” – I joined the Army Reserve and stuck it out for over 22yrs. It was tough sometimes as I missed out on a lot of things, events and going places with my family and friends but now it is paying off. I have problems with my knees and cannot do as much work as I had done even a year ago, so I cut back. Lucky for me I am old enough I can start to draw my Army Reserve pension. If I was living in the States I also wouldn’t have to worry about health insurance as many do because I also got a plan with my military pension. But this wasn’t my only retirement plan.
Many will think, we got Social Security – from what “they” say, it will be hurting by 2037 and cannot guarantee full payments after that. On a side note, the Social Security system would have been in much better shape if Congress had not stolen our money. Yes they took the money because it was there and Congress figured they could, all they did was screw us all over. Now I am not a big financial now how guy, but I do know what I have done and so far it seems to be working for me.
I started working as a professional guide at $600 a month, six months out of the year. I then trapped in the winter time and did extra Army Reserve duty to get by. While working as a guide I never had to spend money because I was given a place to stay and all I could eat – the things most all people have to pay for. One winter while I was out and talking to a couple friends, they were astonished I had quite a job making around two grand a month for such low pay. I then told them after taxes I was able to put about $5oo a month in the bank and ask how much they were saving a month – they were shocked. Between my trapping and Army Reserve I never needed to touch my pay, so I figured I needed to do something with it. I thought about the stock market but I had no way to keep an eye on it which one must do, so I decided the next best thing was land. I bought myself 20 acres I figured there was only so much and it would be a good way to invest for the long haul. With what I had saved I put a good down payment on it and kept the payments to where I could afford them. I also made sure there was a clause in the contract which allowed me to pay it off early with no penalty. By the time I moved to Denmark I had the land paid off and a good nest egg set aside. Now my saving plan changed a bit.
As I got married I had more expenses, yet I still forced myself to save. This time I used my army reserve pay as savings. Yes, sometimes I needed to spend some of it to pay bills, but I always had a base savings amount I would not touch. Now today looking back I have done well, most of the time I never saved much, but a little at a time. For me I stayed away from the stock market, guess it was just old habits. I know many of you younger, smarter people can do this and do just fine. But the trick is to begin early and plan that money as if you do not have it. There were times when we got real tight, but I forced myself to not touch my retirement funds. It is hard work and discipline, but it pays off in the long run. Now today looking back I wish I had started earlier and had more discipline and control, but I am glad I started when I did because today I will be able to live comfortable. Not to say I will have a lot of money to blow, but we will always have a roof over our heads and something good to eat. I know there’s a lot of people out there preaching save, save, save, but I thought it might be important for you to hear it from just an ordinary guy with not so much financial smarts, but was able to look ahead and plan.

One thought on “PLANNING AHEAD

  1. The most important thing I have found about saving for retirement is just getting into the habit of doing it. Having the mindset that it’s money we never had makes it easier to put into retirement accounts. We will see the payoffs of the sacrifices when we retire.

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