Retirement Planning Challenges: Why I’m Terrified for My Mom
Retirement is something that a lot of people look forward to. They’ve put in their hours week-in and week-out so that they can live out the rest of their lives in solitude on “some beach somewhere,” as Blake Shelton would put it.
While this doesn’t seem like a bad way to spend your days, you really need to plan this out. It’s not as easy as saving for a few years right before you retire. Living a comfortable, worry-free retirement means saving potentially millions of dollars. That seems like a daunting task, but assuming all the circumstances are right and you start early, it’s not that difficult.
Retirement Planning Difficulties
So if it’s not that difficult save for, why am I so terrified for my mom to reach that threshold? Because she’s 45 and she has nothing.
Every penny that my mom has ever earned in her life has gone into raising my two little sisters and me.
She’s barely ever had an opportunity to spend on herself, let alone to put money aside for retirement. She has no savings, IRA, or 401(k). She doesn’t own any real estate or valuable assets that she can sell to make up for the gap. This scares me.
The Stats on Retirement Savings
What’s even more frightening is that she’s not alone. According to a 2016 study by GoBankingRates, 37 percent of respondents between the ages of 45 to 54 reported having nothing saved for retirement. That’s especially alarming because by that age, you should have six to seven times your annual salary saved to be on track for a comfortable retirement.
A lot of people in my mom’s position are betting on good ol’ Uncle Sam to take care of them when they reach retirement. That’s a bet that I wouldn’t make. In 2017, the average Social Security payout for a woman was $1,231.50 per month.
At an annual income of $14,400, this would put that 65-plus-year-old woman just above the poverty line, which is $11,756 as of 2017. Factoring in things like Medicare costs and living expenses, most people relying on Social Security would be living a retirement lifestyle quite unlike the one that they likely have in mind.
My mother became disabled after a car accident several years back left her with severe PTSD and depression. As such, she may never be able to work again. My sisters and I will be left to pick up the slack that Uncle Sam leaves for us to provide her with a comfortable retirement, and that’s stressful. It’s why I hustle so hard and do everything under the sun to ensure my financial success in life. It will no doubt put an extra strain on my finances, but I’m confident that if I put in the work, I’ll be able to afford supporting my mother. Everyone deserves a peaceful retirement.