It was late and I was hungry. So naturally, one of the few places that is open will more than likely be fast food. So I drive to one of the nearest fast food chains and instead of ordering through the drive-thru, I decide to go in. Immediately, my eyes are drawn to an older woman working behind the counter. She had to be about 80-years-old, seriously. She had a slight hump in her back and her hands shook profusely.
I felt so bad giving her my order, because not only was she old, but she was obviously a new employee and didn’t know how to work all of the equipment. So when something she put in didn’t go right, the manager, who happened to be a very condescending early 20’s (I’m talking like 21 at the most) young, perky girl that kept shaking her head at the woman when she had to fix her mistake.
Needless to say, I got my order and went back out to the car. When driving back home, I couldn’t help but to think, how did that woman end up there? It was the late shift, she was well beyond her years but she needed that job.
Then it hit me: More than likely, because of poor planning she was too poor to retire, but too young to die. She still had years left to live, but not enough money. Unfortunately, many of our elderly are in the same predicament. But there’s good news, you can get out!
Here’s three myths about retirement that need to get out of your head immediately:
1. Retirement? I still have time for that – believe it or not, a lot of people think and I mean A LOT. People want to wait until their 40’s to plan for their retirement thinking that that is enough time to do what they need to do. But really, since your first day of work, you should be saving for your retirement. If you haven’t started doing it now, start today. Like right now! Not when you get home from work, not when you have time. Right now.
Start setting aside a little into a 401K, Roth IRA or money market, or mutual fund. And if you don’t know what any of those things are, look them up. One of the best nearly free tools we have as a people is the internet. Search on Google and if you are the type of person who likes to hear it from someone, search on youtube. There are tons of people who can intelligently explain this to you. The key is to start now. At least start saving something. Do you know that if you saved 100 a month (50 from every paycheck) for the next 20 years
2. My children will take care of me – this is probably one of the most dangerous myths out there. It’s so dangerous that it’s putting generations of Black men and women in a constant cycle of living beneath where they can be. While your children should have a vested interest in you and your well being when you get older, all of it shouldn’t have to weigh on their shoulders.
Just think about it, if they’re getting older and starting to save and just when they think they’ve got it down, you need something, not because you really need it, but because you didn’t plan your finances correctly for your old age. So you know what that teaches them? The same…
Black Retirement: “Too Poor To Retire, But Too Young To Die” was originally published on blackdoctor.org