Let's face it: A lot of us worry about not having enough money to live on after we stop working. In fact, it's the principal reason why we keep working! Nobody wants to outlive their money. Here are three unconventional ideas for a more secure retirement, and no, we don't actually expect anyone to do them.
Unload the kids.
One in five people in their 20s and early 30s is currently living with his or her parents, reports the New York Times. If that's not bad enough, try this stat on for size: A full 60 percent of all young adults are still financially sucking on the family teat, so to speak. A generation ago, one in 10 young adults moved back home and living with your mother was something to be embarrassed about.
OK, so maybe you aren't quite ready to render Junior homeless. And maybe it's actually kind of nice to have your daughter around for Netflix-binging weekends. But we know of parents who have gone overboard. They make car payments for their adult kids, pay their cell phone bills, and "help" them by not charging anything for room and board.
If you want a sweeter retirement, maybe the answer is cutting off the kids. Set a deadline -- a firm one -- and adopt a "No Job Too Menial" policy. They have to start somewhere, and that can be flipping burgers just as easily as texting all day on their smart phones while they figure out their career options.
Plan to live longer because you will.
It used to be that people retired at 65 and expected to live for about 20 years. Now, with greater life expectancy, some retirement experts are suggesting that should plan on having enough money to live to be 100. After all, you don't want to outlive your money.
“As people are living longer, they need a greater amount of savings to carry them through retirement,” says Nicole Mayer of RPG-Life Transitions Specialists. “Between inflation, medical bills, and other expenses, retirement savings need to last longer than 10 to 20 years.” The National Institute on Aging says that people age 85 or older are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. In 1950, there were about 3,000 Americans who hit the centenarian mark; in 2050, look for that number to be near one million, says the NIA.
Mayer says that we should shift toward a 40-year retirement plan instead of a 20 year plan. The bad news is, of course, the earlier you start this the better and for some, it's already too late. And that's why you likely won't do this. Because you can't. What you can do, of course, is start taking better care of yourself. Good health is probably the most valuable currency to bring with you into retirement.
Check your Social Security statements and pension status every year.
How boring is that? It's something you could -- and should -- do, but nobody ever does. It's seriously important to make sure that Social Security has the right information about your earnings. You also should actually try to understand what your pension’s benefits are and when they are payable, says the deVere Group, a large financial consultancy firm. Also pay attention to any pension charges or fees.
If nobody is watching the hen house, what do you think will happen? Bingo. Problem is, of course, this stuff was designed to be uninterpretable by the average guy. You won't do it. Nobody does. Admit it. It's just easier to watch cat videos.