Retirement Savings Plan Needed

I think this is a drive that more people need to have and is especially relevant for retirement saving and planning.


By Roger Nusbaum

A friend of a friend is a Major League pitcher whose career started out very promisingly but over the last few years he has struggled with injuries. I am friends with him on Facebook (the FB account actually appears to be his wife’s) and I follow him on Instagram. I don’t know if he would remember me or not but he gave my brother and me a great tour of Fenway, including the clubhouse, dugout and onto the field, a few years ago when he was with the Sox.

He was in AAA for all of 2014 and spent a good chunk of 2015 in the majors but has not been signed yet for 2016. A lot of his Instagram posts have to do with how hard he is working out and the effort to be in shape so that when he gets the call he will have the best stuff possible. The pictures and videos are not showing off, he doesn’t bench 500lbs, more like a marketing campaign.

I have no idea what his financial situation is but he is doing what he has to in order to give himself the best chance at the outcome he wants which of course is to continue his major league career.

I think this is a drive that more people need to have and is especially relevant for retirement saving and planning.

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Social Security certainly has issues and while there is plenty of debate about the magnitude of those issues I think it makes sense to be prepared for a worse outcome than what you expect to happen. Great for anyone who gets the payout they expect but I believe in being ready for not getting the full expected amount. Imagine a scenario where you’re off by one year such that the way it turns out everyone born one year before you gets their FRA as promised and starting your year there will be reductions and means testing. Not a prediction so much as a Murphy’s Law type of thing.

The country has a savings problem. There may not be a great way to accurately quantify this problem as some articles imply no one has $1000 to pay for an emergency, 401 balances average $12,000 and other numbers that seem difficult to believe but just about everybody is on the same page of Americans being undersaved.

Using a simplistic example, median income in 2014 was $51,759 (found via a Google search). If someone wants to cover half that amount in retirement from their portfolio then using today’s dollars their portfolio needs to be $646,987 ($51759/2 then divided by .04). Yeah, yeah it is overly simplistic but a $51,000 salary and a $26,000 portfolio number are not opulent dollar amounts but how realistic is $500,000 or $600,000 for the broad swath of Americans?

Probably not very realistic but paraphrasing Joe Moglia, no one will care more about your retirement more than you. Similarly no one will care more about whether my acquaintance (that may be too strong of a word) will make back it to the major leagues more than him. The implication being that it is better to reduce the extent your fate is determined by someone else like congress.

Just as he is doing what he can to determine his outcome so too can many people try to do more to determine their outcomes. For many years I’ve been talking in this context about living below your means, increasing your savings rate, trying to stay modestly fit (to cut down on healthcare expenses) and try to take some of the burden off your portfolio like through monetizing a hobby in case you need it.

To that end, this week I am taking the second of two classes (there are some perquisites that I took a long time ago) required to be an All Hazards Logistics Section Chief (LSC). I have been an LSC trainee for a couple of years on a recently started Incident Management Team (IMT) here in the Prescott area but am now the only one in the LSC role. Once I complete the class and get a few incidents under my belt I will be a qualified LSC.

I don’t expect to ever need to rely on this for income but no one knows what their future holds, no one knows their future selves might want to do but it is a lot of fun, helps with problem solving in my day job, and like blogging, my fire involvement is opening doors to meet people and do things I would have never been able to do. If we do need it then it will be successful for putting in the time needed because no one cares more about my acquaintance’s MLB career than he does and no one cares more about your financial future than you so do everything you can to get the outcome you want.