Shaping the Nation: Politics and the Family
are you a binger?
By John Brummit
To learn more about The Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement and Insurance, visit www.boardofretirement.com.
Almost every American is familiar with the term binge. Defined as an act of excessive or compulsive consumption, a binge is a spree—unrestrained and often excessive. Usually associated with eating, drinking, and shopping, most everyone agrees that bingeing is not a good idea. Unrestrained lifestyles end up damaging both bodies and bank accounts.
However, many members of the “boomer” generation are guilty of bingeing in another, less familiar area—binge “saving.” Sadly, few think this type of bingeing is a problem.
Did you know the average baby-boomer (born between the years of 1946 and 1964) has only $50,000 upon reaching retirement age? Many soon-to-be retirees face the frightening prospect of not being prepared for their quickly approaching golden years.
As a result, they start loading up their retirement funds with all the money they can spare, preparing for the future. This type of binge is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, when you are ill prepared for retirement, every penny counts! But bingeing for retirement is not the best way.
Boomers now realize they will need more money than past generations as a result of better health care, longer life expectancy, and self-indulgent behavior.
Statisticians tell us that boomers, as a group, have done little in the way of planning for the future. The earliest boomers, who will reach retirement in 2008, are largely unprepared.
How can you keep from being a retirement binger? Start saving for retirement as soon as you start working. Financial planners often refer to a strategy called “early in, early out.” This simply means you invest early and then benefit early.
Not everyone wants to retire early, but wouldn’t it be nice to have that option? Saving in moderation is the main objective when preparing for retirement. It is not wise to continue putting off your saving for retirement until you are forced to make great sacrifices towards the end of your career in order to survive your later years.
Social Security was never designed to take the place of retirement savings. Social Security should be viewed as “bonus” income to be used for visiting the grandkids. Yet many “binge savers” find themselves leaning heavily on Social Security.
If you need help to stop binge saving, get help. Create a plan of action. Determine how much you need to save to enjoy a reasonable income in retirement, and then stick to the plan you make.
Too often we give in to the instant gratification promoted by our culture. If you have fallen prey to this mindset, there is no time to waste. Start today—no matter how much time you have left in your working career! Tell your spouse, children, and friends what you are doing, and get started!
Granted, a “saving binge” will not hurt you, but it is certainly not the easiest and best way to do things.
The Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement is here to help keep participants from falling into the “binge saver” pattern. Let us help you develop a plan that will provide long-term financial security. The department was created to serve you as you serve the denomination, but the lifestyle you choose—to binge or not to binge—is up to you!
About the Writer: John Brummitt is the business manager for the Board of Retirement and Insurance. To learn more about retirement options, contact John at (877) 767-7738.
Quick Facts About Today’s Retirees:
Since 1990, retirees have come to rely on Social Security as 38.6% of their retirement income.
In that same time, retirees have returned to the work force, depending on earned wages for more than 26% of their income.
In 2004, retirement funds and pensions represent only 19.7% of retirement income.
In 2004, 11.3% of American seniors in their 80s lived at or below the poverty level.
Today, Social Security provides at least half of total income for a majority of seniors. In 2004, Social Security was the major source of income (providing at least 50% of total income) for 54% of aged beneficiary couples and 74% of aged non-married beneficiaries.