Hardly a week goes by without a personal finance magazine commenting in one way or another
that Americans are ill-prepared for retirement. Yet, in spite of these alarming and repetitive warnings, we Americans and specifically we Iowans appear to be in denial that the post World War II affluence we’ve enjoyed could evaporate during our expected “golden years.” It’s news we don’t want to hear. We are in denial – and its time for us to find a road to recovery right here in Iowa.

43% of Americans will be at risk and won’t be able to maintain their lifestyles in retirement, according to the National Retirement Risk Index developed by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

A recent “Nest Egg Index” survey by A.G. Edwards shows Midwestern, and several Iowa cities in particular, as having higher savings rates than much of the U.S. However, the personal savings rates of American was negative in 2005. As a group, Americans spent $1.02 for every $1.00 of 2005 earnings. A study by Americans for Secure Retirement shows that residents of Polk County, Iowa are at moderate risk for financial insecurity during retirement.


People are living longer. Greater life expectancy equals the need for more money. Medical costs are going up. Medicare may be technically insolvent by 2014. The Social Security “Trust” fund will be exhausted by 2041 – paying for only 74 cents of each dollar of scheduled benefits. Company pension plans have either been terminated or are at risk for being terminated. Today’s ticket to retirement is your own personal 401(k) or IRA type plan. The plans are designed to make you responsible for their success; not your employer.

Finally, as I stated, many Americans save nothing outside of a retirement plan. Only 18% of Americans have saved enough to generate just $4,000 per year in retirement income.


How do you get out of denial? You need to accept that YOU are responsible for your retirement future – not your government or employer.

Weigh your personal choices – save more, spend less, and/or work longer. A critically important piece of your planning is to come to an understanding of who you are and how you want to live your retirement years. Retire with your current standard of comfort? Downsizing your home; focusing on friendships and volunteering opportunities? Upsizing by planning a second home, world travel, or renewing your work career by starting your own business?

Consider whether you will continue to work. According to research from AARP, 70% of pre-retired workers plan to work part-time or never retire at all because they either want to stay active, remain useful and have fun or need to work, because they haven’t saved and invested enough for retirement. The Center for Retirement Research suggests that working even two years longer and saving 3% more will improve the chances for retirement security.

Whether through self-study and self-discipline to do the planning yourself or getting good advice from a financial advisor, you need to get moving NOW. Get informed, get organized, and get a plan in place that’s right for you. Just getting started on the road towards your own financial independence can be a gratifying experience. Because you know you’ve done something positive for yourself and you’ve left denial in the rear view mirror. As the Nike slogan says – JUST DO IT, and do it now!

Author's Bio: 

Bill Taber the President of Taber Asset Management. He has 32 years of work experience in portfolio management, securities sales, and commercial banking with TABER Asset Management, Principal Financial Securities, E.F. Hutton & Co, Inc, and Bankers Trust Company. He is currently seeking to recruit experienced and successful portfolio managers to continue building a world class investment management company. His company utilizes a cloud computing platform to do business around the world.

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact Bill by clicking here.