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How to avoid retiring in poverty

Posted at 6:34 AM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 09:34:51-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Retirement is said to be the longest vacation any of us will ever take, but many Americans do not set themselves up for success when it comes to their retirement funds.

About 40-percent of middle-class Americans will fall into poverty or near-poverty by the time they reach 65, according to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. If you look at retirement like a super long vacation, come up with numbers that reflect that. Robert Roman with World Financial Group in Tucson said, retirement is an average of 8,000 days.

"I look at, what does it cost you to eat for 8,000 days? Just food alone, so we look at a general rule of thumb - people should strive to save a minimum of 10-percent for retirement," said Roman.

There are more expenses nowadays, and 10-percent may be difficult for some to save. But it doesn't take much to start. Roman said to come up with a number and put away as much money as you can afford.

"The three-legged stool of the traditional retirement system of pensions, social security and personal savings - we're witnessing most people down to maybe two legs. Social security is in trouble, pensions don't exist for most people," said Roman.

Which, based on this theory, leaves most people relying on their personal savings.

Wendy Reuter will reach retirement age in about seven years. She said educating herself and taking courses in retirement savings steered her in the right direction.

"I am fortunate that I already have a head-start on that," said Reuter.

She advised the younger you start planning your retirement income, the better off you are.

"Everyone needs to be thinking about this. Most people, because they don't understand it, they put it aside. They're confused, they don't even bother with it. Then, all of a sudden, retirement age in the 60s is here and they have no money. That attitude of sticking your head in the sand is not the right way to go," said Reuter.

Roman said, if you properly put money towards investments and savings, it can give you a happy vacation retirement