Who is that Old Guy in the Mirror?

​I would like to share some thoughts with my younger readers. In my youth I remember thinking there were two types of people, old people and young people, and I was one of the young ones. I never realized I would one day join the other group until recently when I entered a crowded waiting room and a member of the “young” group stood up and offered me their seat. I wasn’t sure if I should be grateful or offended.
 
In young adulthood, Americans have a mountain of ambition, energy and responsibilities. A house, car, education, children and the never-ending school fund raisers take their toll on a young family’s budget. Each item demands priority as often-meager funds are allocated. Young people also know they should start saving for retirement but with so many other needs, many decide to put it off. This is not surprising since few people in their 20’s can comprehend actually being 70 one day.
 
A person fresh out of school can expect to work for 30-40 years, followed by another 30-40 years of retirement. Consider the financial math of that reality and you will see the need to make an early and regular friend of the power of compound interest. Simply put, you must get some of your dollars set aside and working for you, or those last 30 years may be very tough.
 
Young people regularly tell me they simply can’t afford to save for retirement, but when they have some extra cash, they will set it aside. As the years go by most learn the harsh reality that “extra cash” is never going to magically appear. Some current need or want will always try to take priority. And so the best and perhaps only way to solve the challenging math of retirement is to make saving for it a non-negotiable part of your young budget. You must start early and save regularly. Doing so should be as important as budgeting money to put food on your table, because one day that is exactly what it will do.
 
If it seems difficult to live on a tight budget while you are young, healthy and working, imagine how tough it will be when you are old, unhealthy and unemployable. You owe it to your future elderly self, to set aside money today because the person in the best position to care for you financially when you are 70, is you, while you are still 30. Let me emphasize that point. No government program, charitable organization, or well-meaning family member is in a better position, or has a greater motivation to care for you at 70, than YOU while you are still 30, 40 and 50. Start today and make the financial well-being of your future self a personal priority by regularly investing into a retirement account. Believe it or not, you will one day join that group of “old” people, and when you do, your elderly self will be very grateful for the sacrifice the young you is making today.