Monday, November 5, 2007

36 More Years

Last week I was on vacation. I stayed in town but had a terrific time touring DC and getting some things done around the house. It was great! (Look at how beautiful the Capitol is -- I never get tired of visiting it.)

Today, after being back at work for just 4 hours, I was ready for another vacation! Yes, my rational brain did remind me that vacation probably wouldn't be nearly as fun without work to make that time off feel special. But today, I was ready for retirement...but I still have 36 more years to go! For me right now, that's more than a lifetime. Oh my!

It's actually good that I have a long time. For one, I really don't want to wish my life away. Secondly, I need time (lots of it) to save for retirement. I once calculated that I was going to need something like $1.2 million in savings in order to live in retirement for 20 years. What?! (It is in future dollars -- with inflation -- but still that's a lot of dough!) So, I'm going to have to either work my entire life or win the lottery?

No, neither of those scenarios will probably happen. Even though the lump sum seems humongous, in small bits (a little out of each paycheck) it's not that bad. (Really!) Check out the Ballpark E$timate on Choose to Save's website and see for yourself.

If you are still worried about how you are possibly going to find any (or more) money to save, wait until your next pay raise. Direct at least half (more, if you can) of the additional money to a retirement savings account (through your employer's plan or your own IRA). Do that as soon as you get the increase so you don't get used to having that extra money in your pocket. This method has really helped me save. Each time I get a pay increase, I go back to the Ballpark E$timate to help reevaluate how much I need to direct to my retirement fund.

In 36 years, I'm sure I'll look back and thank my young self for funding a 20 year vacation!

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