There is an old adage – it is never too late to start saving. Well, it is also never too early to start saving and now a new wrinkle has been added.
The newest concern for younger workers who have pensions is the need to fill the income gap between taking a pension at age 55 through 62, and collecting Social Security payments that Congress is likely to push back collection of full benefit to age 67 through 70.
If Congress changes the Social Security full benefit age to 67 through 70 but still allows you to collect a percentage of full benefit at age 62, that payment will be smaller than the current 75%, thus increasing the need for a savings cushion.
Savings, in the form of equities, bank accounts, IRA’s. 403b and 457 will help bridge the gap that will most likely occur if you leave the pension system prior to Social Security age of collection. This is not the “good old days” of Tier I and II. The newest tiers are designed to pay you less by reducing the pension for the years after thirty years of service.
If you only have one vehicle for savings, I would recommend the 403b and/or the 457 accounts. These are accounts that have money taken from your paycheck before taxes and deposited in vehicles of your choice. You don’t see the money making it more difficult to spend! If you already have such accounts, try to increase your contribution. The maximum is $17,500 up to 50 years of age and $22,500 for those over fifty.
If you are nervous about this kind of investing choose the fixed income selection of the company you choose – it is sure to pay at least 3% guaranteed. Reminder: $10,000 savings per year at fixed rate of 3% yields $276,765 after 20 years and $490,027 after 30 years.
Over the thirteen years I have been a Retirement Consultant, I have seen thousands of public employees through the retirement process. The most difficult issue we deal with is not having enough savings. Try not to be one of the people who is forced to work after you have had enough at the job.
Savings give you confidence, security, and many choices at decision-making time. This is a position we all want to be in.