Thursday, August 6, 2009

And I thought I Was Starting Late. . .

Just when I was thinking that I was one of the the worst of the late-bloomers (that's what I get for reading all those wonderful blogs out there by twenty-somethings who are already saving up for retirement--not to mention for weddings, homes, and kids), along comes Sarah.

Sarah was profiled on Monday's Dallas News. (Thanks to Boston Gal for pointing me toward Sarah's story.)

Sarah is 57 and has NO retirement savings. Never mind that her employer would match up to 6% of her salary (meaning, she has left substantial dollars on the table every year) or that in addition to her base salary of $58,000, she apparently makes good money from a family oil well lease.

The article is a tad cagey about just what her annual income is, at one time saying that the amount of oil-well income varies, and at another, quoting the financial advisor as saying that her total income is "very respectable." I can't tell if she's making about the same $75,000 a year I make, or not.

One comment that I don't understand is her financial planner's concern that she may wind up in bankruptcy if the oil money goes away--overall, her debt doesn't seem to me to be that substantial. She owes around $26,000. Maybe it's because I owe about $21,000 so her debt doesn't seem so far off from mine. I've never considered bankruptcy, and wouldn't unless I owed far more than I do. (I do realize that Sarah has fewer concerns about assets, which I would have to consider--she doesn't have much equity in her home.)

The article doesn't mention prior marriages, so I'm assuming that Sarah, like myself, has always been single.

What IS she thinking????

Is she planning to inherit from her parents? I know of several people whose retirements are based largely on what they expect to get from their parents' estates.

Sarah says she is an optimist and has always believed it will all work out. I understand this; I think of myself as optimistic as well.

But late as I am to the world of retirement saving or planning, at least I got there before age 58!


Petunia 100 said...

She says she's an optimist, which is great. I think she is unrealistic. Did you notice this statement of hers?

"They made me realize that I am in much better shape than I believed, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, however distant."

Maybe the feedback she received was very different than what they printed in the article. I don't know what she plans to live on post-retirement.

Of course, you are right that they left out some important details. It could well be that she stands to inherit significant assets, or that the income from her family oil lease is quite large.

DogAteMyFinances said...

That story is baffling. She has a bunch of "bills" and "debt" but for what???

I'm guessing there are some kids or a nasty divorce or health problems or something in there.

Anonymous said...

Just remember-if you don't take care of yourself-no one else will.

Keep up the good work Grace.

See Ya

Shevy said...

Wow, she's 57 and hasn't even started saving for retirement (even though her company has a plan with a 6% match)? What's wrong with her? Doesn't she ever plan on retiring? Thinks Social Security will be enough for her? Maybe the oil thing is really good money and she thinks it'll never give out? Mommy & Daddy are filthy rich and she's an only child?

I think reality might be quite the little wake-up call for her....