Thinking he was doing his company a favor, Ted was shocked to find that after announcing plans for his upcoming retirement a few months in advance, his employer terminated him immediately.
With no additional retirement funding, he retired just short of age 65 and soon began receiving a modest Social Security check. His wife, Mary had no choice but to continue to work. Ted and Mary had both worked at various jobs over their 45 year careers. Unfortunately, while rearing five children, they never seemed to have enough extra money to invest or contribute to a retirement account.
Ted and Mary did manage to buy a house at one point in their careers but later sold it when they moved to another city. They and never had the funds to purchase another. Ted had a meager whole-life life insurance policy that he cashed in at one point of hardship during their years together. Once it was redeemed, he realized the error of his decision and attempted to have the policy reinstated but was denied.
After struggling financially for a few months while adjusting to retirement, Ted was offered a part-time job by a competitor. Delighted, he quickly accepted it and worked there for five years before taking another part-time another job at age 70. Mary had since lost her job and the two lived on their Social Security checks plus the meager salary Ted earned.
By this time, Ted was a diabetic and had developed a kidney disease that required dialysis three days per week. After months of treatment and continued failing health, he was admitted to a nursing home where he lived a few weeks before dying in his sleep at age 79. Mary was left with several bills, a few dollars in a bank account, no life insurance, a mobile home she rented, and five adult children who paid for Ted’s funeral. Today, Mary, age 93, she lives out her life in an assisted living facility and enjoys visits from family and friends.
Bitter? Not on your life. Both Ted and Mary were Christians who lived their lives, reared their family, served the Lord, and touched many people’s lives in a positive way. Were Ted and Mary able to live their lives over again they would have changed a few of the things they did and didn’t do. In their later years, Ted and Mary both realized that they had made some mistakes along the way. Who do you know who hasn’t made their share of mistakes?
In retrospect, Ted could have left Mary in a better financial position had he left her with a debt free home, a well funded 401(k), and a generous life insurance policy. He left none of those for Mary.
While neither Ted nor Mary ever received any form of public assistance, Richard Wolf writes in USA Today, August 30, 2010, that Government anti-poverty programs have reached record levels. More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid. More than 40 million Americans are on food stamps. Close to 10 million Americans receive unemployment checks, and more that 4.4 million people are on welfare.
How about your future retirement? Do you intend to depend upon one or more Government programs to get by? Can you afford to live on Social Security alone? Please don’t put yourself in that position when you reach your retirement.
Some of the things many wise people are doing now include: getting totally out of debt, buying substantial term life insurance policies, paying off their mortgage, and investing heavily in Roth IRAs (made with after-tax contributions so it is tax-free when withdrawn,) or 401(k)s.
Remember: Decisions you make today and actions you take tomorrow have major impacts upon your future retirement plans.