“Mom, I’m setting up my tent outside,” announced my world-traveling millennial son shortly after arriving home for a short visit. “Peter,” I said, perplexed, “I’ve kept your room in perfect condition—your TV, wifi, and air-conditioning are waiting for you!” “No thanks,” he replied, “The house is living too large for me, Mom, I’ve moved on to living small and I don’t want to go back.”
“Does 1% really make any difference?” John asked. We were discussing John’s cash and emergency savings.
“You’re doing what?” inquired Tim incredulously. Tim and I were discussing college savings for his 10th grade daughter, and he knew that I too was saving for college for my high school daughter and college son. “You heard me right the first time,” I said, “my 25-year-old is funding his siblings’ 529s.”
Unfortunately, Tim doesn’t have the same secret weapon that I have and so can’t take advantage of my strategy.
“I’ll never retire,” Jack said with exasperation.
What if I told you that there is a way to save for retirement without actually having to pinch pennies? You don’t have to deny yourself that shopping spree or that awesome trip. What’s more, you could potentially “save” hundreds of thousands of dollars. Does it sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not. All you have to do is exercise—hard!
As my daughter and I rode our bikes down the path to Giverny, France I felt like I was in the scene from the Sound of Music where Maria and the kids are biking. Last week I stole away with my youngest for a quick trip to Paris. On our last day we set out to see the home and gardens of Claude Monet. The sun was shining and we had just enjoyed the most divine picnic lunch. It was market day in town, and before we set off on our ride we stopped to pick up fresh bread, cheese, fruit, and a bottle of Sancerre. I kid you not, it was the best meal of my life. I can still taste that crisp white wine on my tongue.
Chances are you’ve wondered about the prospects of younger Americans. Will they enjoy the same economic conditions that their parents lived through? Will retirement still be an option for them?
The NerdWallet organization recently issued a report which found a few differences between today’s college graduates and those of 20 to 40 years ago. For one thing, they carry a lot more student loan debt: $35,051 on average. That means, again on average, that the new graduates will be paying $4,239 a year for ten years before they can properly start saving. NerdWallet estimates that these higher loan payments could potentially reduce future retirement savings by 32%—an average of $700,000.
“It’s a great investment!” replied Ed when I asked him why he had purchased his variable annuity. “I get 5% guaranteed—and if the markets do better I get all the upside too!” The promise sounds too good to be true. And, in this case, it is too good to be true. I’ve seen this annuity many times over the past few years. The sales pitch is very convincing—who wouldn’t want no downside risk and full upside benefits. Has anyone tried to sell you this annuity?
Yes, it’s true, anyone can save 10% or more in four year college expenses. That could easily mean more than $25,000 in your pocket. And, there is no need to complete the FAFSA financial aid form or score 800s on your SATs to garner a scholarship. This opportunity is open to everyone.
I am basking in the glory of my son Peter’s recent college graduation. As a financial planner, I am thrilled that the $60,000 per year payments have ended, and, as a parent, I am proud that he has achieved this significant milestone. As I reflect on his college experience I realize I have some wisdom to share both as a parent and as Fee-only financial planner.