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The Retirement We’re All Trying to Avoid

The Retirement We’re All Trying to Avoid

When I read this piece from MSN Money it made me think of one word: yikes!

Here’s the part that made me squirm:

At the height of his corporate career, Tom Palome was pulling in a salary in the low six-figures and flying first class on business trips to Europe.

Today, the 77-year-old former vice president of marketing for Oral-B juggles two part-time jobs: one as a $10-an-hour food demonstrator at Sam’s Club, the other flipping burgers and serving drinks at a golf club grill for slightly more than minimum wage.

While Palome worked hard his entire career, paid off his mortgage and put his kids through college, like most Americans he didn’t save enough for retirement. Even many affluent baby boomers who are approaching the end of their careers haven’t come close to saving the 10 to 20 times their annual working income that investment experts say they’ll need to maintain their standard of living in old age.

When the 2008 financial crisis hit, what little Palome had saved — $90,000 — took a beating and he suddenly found himself in need of cash to maintain his lifestyle. With years if not decades of life ahead of him, Palome took the jobs he could find.

A few thoughts on this:

  • First of all, kudos to him for being willing to work at any job to make ends meet. I know it must be hard but the article shows that he has a great attitude about his situation.
  • What a nightmare! This is would be a terrible result IMO and the exact opposite of the retirement I’m planning for.
  • The key issue: he simply spent too much. He made six figures for at least part of his working life which means he likely had an above-average salary throughout his career. And yet he managed to save only $90k — a number BELOW his final annual salary level.

I can’t help but both feel sorry for his situation and be reminded that this could be me if I don’t stick with my plan (through I’m way past $90k in savings). Hopefully it will encourage you in the same way.

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