Thursday, May 7, 2009

I know you're broke, but...

I recently talked to someone who had worked in the business for more than 30 years and was recently laid off. Since he was close to retirement anyway, I figured it would be an excuse for him to hit the beach and golf course early. I was shocked when he told me he needed to find another job, as he hadn't saved anything at all for retirement.

My dad drummed the importance of saving into me, and I still clip coupons to this day. I always took advantage of company 401k matches, or opened my own IRA at stations that didn't have a match. Sometimes I put away a lot, sometimes just a little.

I know most of you are making peanuts, but when you're young it's even more important to put something away for the future, even if that future seems light years away. The power of compounding over time can be amazing, and since most of you are 30-40 years from retirement, even a small amount squirreled away today can grow to a sizable amount over the years. I don't care how broke you are, you have to find even one percent to stash away.

About fifteen years ago I'd explained the 401k system to a rookie reporter and recently got a thank you note from her telling me she had a nice retirement next egg. And she's a long way from retirement.

Putting money away for retirement is also a tax deduction, so if you're not taking advantage, you're missing one of the few bones the government will throw you.

Save now. Don't end up like the person who has worked thirty years and has nothing to show for it.


WillReportForFood said...

Good thoughts, but there's not much to bank on the $20,000 I'm making!

-The Grape said...

One percent of 20,000 is two hundred bucks. Surely you can put four dollars away each week. Trust me, in 40 years you'll be rich.