Two unusual ways to beat the panic of retirement savings

If you’re feeling freaked out by the vast sums that the so-called retirement experts say that you need to have set aside before you can even think of retiring, well, you’re not alone.

But obsessing over how gargantuan that retirement number is – and how difficult or downright impossible it is to reach it – is simply going to leave you terrified and (worse still) paralyzed.

A better strategy: think about different numbers. Smaller numbers: numbers that are inherently less likely to make your eyeballs roll back in your head. Some of them are simply different numbers, such as the idea of a “retirement paycheck”.

Best of all, try to put the numbers aside for a moment and ponder strategies instead.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll devote a couple of columns to this topic of different retirement strategies, in hopes of introducing you to tools that you can use to cope with what I think of as “retirement panic”. That’s the growing conviction that assisted suicide just might be a viable alternative to retiring without the mammoth-sized nest egg you think you’re supposed to have.

One note of caution as you’re thinking about retirement strategies: nothing will make up for the fact that you haven’t saved enough. Short of planting a money tree in the backyard and having it sprout C-notes without the Secret Service taking notice and uprooting it, if you’re in your 50s and only starting to save, life post-retirement is going to be much, much more difficult.

If you’ve been using money you could have put aside in savings to finance annual trips to Europe, China, Costa Rica – well, just don’t expect to keep globetrotting into your 70s when you no longer have a paycheck to finance either those jaunts or the mortgage.

Something that will help many retirees, however, is getting accustomed today to the probable need to use two strategies with mixed reputations.


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