We all know we should be saving for retirement… but it’s not easy to do. Life gets in the way and retirement seems so far off. I’ve managed to make retirement my biggest financial priority through a combination of positive (financial freedom!) and negative (fear of spending old age in penury) motivation.
Here are the 5 things that I tell myself to save for retirement:
1. I want to enjoy retirement free from financial worries.
I want a retirement filled with volunteer work, extensive travel, a comfortable, paid-off home, and plenty of friends and socializing (I’ll be that old lady at dim sum on a Wednesday morning). I would not enjoy my retirement if I spend my days worrying about deciding between groceries or the house payment. I would not enjoy my retirement if my sole source of income depended on Social Security.
2. I want to afford a reasonable level of medical care.
With family members who work in the medical field – and who see, every day, the consequences of being old, sick, and poor in America, I am well aware that health care costs will probably exceed anything I can imagine at this point in my life. I don’t know what the state of health care will be like in 40 years, but I do know that even with health insurance, (1) illnesses will be expensive, and (2) having more financial resources will make me more comfortable in a time of sickness.
3. If I have children, I do not want to burden them with my care.
I want my children to fret about getting me the perfect birthday present, not to worry that if they don’t send me money each month my gas will be shut off. Freedom from worry about my financial situation is one of the best gifts I can give to the next generation – it’s a gift that my parents have given me, and I would want to continue that.
4. I do not want my parents to worry about my financial well-being.
I’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of educational assistance from my parents. There’s even the possibility that they will leave a little bit of real estate to me in the future. But I never want my parents to worry about my ability to provide and save for myself after they are gone. They should enjoy their hard-earned money. If they leave me something, great. But I don’t want my parents to scrimp and save because they are afraid that my finances depend on getting an inheritance.
5. I want to leave an inheritance in event of unexpected demise.
If I die before I retire, I want to leave something to my loved ones. One of the refrains I’ve heard is that “you can’t take it with you when you go,” which is true – you can’t take anything with you when you go. But I don’t see leaving money behind as a waste. In fact, I would consider it a privilege to leave a bequest – however small – to the people whom I love and who love me.
Why do you save for retirement? Are your reasons similar to mine?
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