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Thread: Feeling very stressed about saving for retirement, having "enough" & money in general

  1. #1

    Feeling very stressed about saving for retirement, having "enough" & money in general

    I'm a long time member of the board, not sure why I'm going incognito. It's not like I should be embarssed. And, certainly there are others out there that might have similar worries. The last few weeks I've gotten really nervous about the whole concept of saving for my retirement, and having enough to actually enjoy it. And fear if I don't have enough. What then. It just has REALLY hit me the last few weeks. It's not like I didn't realize before that I'm getting older. And then add in the concern of having money problems at any age since unexpected things can happen that can cause financial issues.

    Here's some stats, I am single, in my 40's, no debt, have an emergency fund, and other money socked away. Although have been dipping into savings since the economy tanked.

    I don't want to put my head in the sand but I don't want to be thoroughly stressed and freaked about this. It's kept me up on more than a few nights.

    I was making my 2009 Roth IRA contribution online and the company had one of those retirement calculators that you plug in some figures on salary, amount saved for retirement, and out pops "their" take on how you stand and how much you need to contribute etc. I've checked out those calculators in the past. I've been on a bunch of different sites, and I do realize they vary quite a bit on their numbers, how they calculate it etc -- I'm just using them as a very ROUGH ballpark. Plus, I don't have a handle on what my expeneses will be (the main ones being housing and healthcare). The figure that they come out with might sound like a decent number, but one could be living 30 years on that money. Many of the calculators just give you a figure on what your income will grow to (using certain parameters) but I was more interested in seeing what theat might translate monthly/yearly. Might not be a bad idea to speak with a financial adviser to get a better picture on where I stand.

    In the past, I've almost always contributed to my 401K (not offered all years depending on the company, had a layoff etc), a few years I've gotten a match. The last couple of years I started a Roth and contributed the max.

    Of course, I'm kicking myself for the years that I didn't contribute the max and/or didn't participate. And, I think its the regret that's getting to me. Of course, I had to also plug in how I would stand if I had more saved. That accomplishes nothing but torturing me.

    What's freaked me out is how the older you get, how much more you need to contribute to really amp up the amount vs if you were younger. It's not like I can sock away 2 million in the next 20+ years.

    I live in an expensive area and I don't own my own place. I know I would feel much better if I was a homeowner so I could work on paying down a mortgage before or not too far into retirement, rather than tossing money out (like I have been all these years). Unfortunately, buying a place isn't an option in the next year or two.

    The thought of paying these high rents in my 60's and beyond, makes me Plus, the high costs of living here. I guess I could move to a different location, but this is where I love living.

    There's the usual reccos of contribtuing the max to the 401K and contributing to an IRA. Many "experts" say that plus Soc Security isn't often enough. Saving additional money in a brokerage acct or high yield (ha)saving/CD etc would be ideal too, but I would have to look at my budget to see what else I can do. I live pretty conservatively -- but I know there's always something that can be cut. I'll admit that I don't want to cut sooo far back that I'm a hermit eating beans and rice, but I don't want to kick myself later too. Not sure how to balance.

    Plus, I know that money probs can come at any time. Layoffs, cutbacks, illness --- that could derail ones plans at any age. I've experienced that the last few years with the recession. So, certainly realize that I can have financial probs way before retirement.

    Like everyone, I don't want to be struggling as I get older -- and since I'm single (hoping that will change), it just leaves lot of burden/stress on just one. Not only financially, but emotionally since it would seem more tolerable if there was a team of two.

    Sorry I've been so long winded. I don't even know what I'm asking but any advice welcome and appreciated.
    Last edited by frenchtoast; 04-18-2010 at 11:56 AM. Reason: sorry for the font

  2. #2
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    You're not silly to be worried, I'm sorry to say. You are smart to be concerned at your relatively young age, though.

    Health care is the real b*tch, though that may not be as bad as we've had it since we retired. In our 60's we were paying more than $500/month each for a $2500 (each) deductible policy. Needless to say, that's our biggest expense! Mortgage is second.

    I'd buy a small place as soon as you can -- you probably can't afford not to! And yes! Get a financial advisor ASAP -- they'll help you plan so you can sleep at night!

    There are ways to enjoy your life now, and still plan for the future you envision!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  3. #3
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    i feel for you. and i've gone through some of the things you fear-- at 41, just as i was moving across the country to begin my own business, i got sick and was diagnosed with an incurable illness that is very debilitating, some times more than others. it changed our finances and my life forever.but it hasn't killed me, and it's given me tiome to devote to my writing, which has been life-changing also...
    we've been holding on to our home by a (thin!) thread for 3 years now. even though it was in decent shape when we bought it, our house requires a regular flow of work just to maintain, as do all homes, much less to raise the quality of life within it and its overall value.
    there are so many factors beyond the basic monthly bills-- you never know when you're going to be footing the bill for a new water heater, etc-- the cost of having a tree that falls down on your property cut and removed starts around $1500; it's not covered by most homeowner's insurance. and mortgages aren't all they're cracked up to be! the company can sell your mortgage in a block and suddenly your terms change...
    ours was raised by half again the agreed amount less than a year after we moved in, because Wells Fargo made a tax mistake that messed up our escrow-- and we have literally no reasonable affordable legal recourse to make up for the losses that mistake caused. there were many!
    these are things that can happen to people who don't run up credit card bills and live in a house that's far beyond their means-- so i'd caution not to think that owning is always the brighter side, and not to look at rent as throwing your money away. what you have been paying for is the privilege NOT to have to replace all your own appliances, foot an unexpected $1,000 bill at the drop of a hat, pay for all the work done, etc.
    also when a person loses their rented home, they may have a little back rent and be homeless. bad enough. when you lose your owned home, you are homeless with $80,000 debt, or more. Just because they take your house doesn't mean it erases the entire loan! it often doesn't erase most of it!
    take your time, start looking at homes/condos online so you can get an idea of what is really available for what costs, and give yourself a chance to really figure out what you want for your future. nothing is sure, but knowing you are going towards something you really want helps--
    Last edited by heavy hedonist; 04-18-2010 at 01:38 PM. Reason: needed balance!

  4. #4
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    ((((((((Frenchtoast)))))))))))))))))))
    DH doesn't understand when I tell him I worry about various things...he says some things we can't change.
    OK, so if I could change things, I wouldn't HAVE to worry; it is the stuff I cannot control or change that worries me...or i'd have fixed it

    I think there is a name for what you are going through.
    It is called "bag lady syndrome." I'm not kidding. I know some extremely wealthy people who go through the worry of not having enough or running out or being left uncared for....

    From what I have read, most of those calculators go WAY overboard on what your actual needs would be. Having said that, I think that health is unpredictable. I never expected to have to deal with and worry about dying from breast cancer or treatments that may or may not come up. It frightens me.
    And of course, as you age, you will travel less, buy less clothing, so the expenses on that side will decline.

    Some financial pundits actually say that owning a home isn't always the best financial decision....as I am sure in the current market there are many who can agree. If you live in an expensive market, factor in property tax, maintenance and high rent may not seem as distasteful.

    Even though I have a DH, as my cancer experience has shown, there is nothing for sure/guaranteed. My DH may die or have health issues (which might ruin us financially or worse, the emotional devastation of losing him) or I may have more health issues...so having someone to share the burden is a two-way street (good and bad).

    I wish I could offer better thoughts/statements but honestly, I have felt what you have. I worry I didn't save enough. I am angry that what I did save has dwindled to near nothing in the stock market. People who spent their money traveling, eating in fancier restaurants at least got to enjoy that...and people like me have less without some of those expenditures....sigh.

    I guess the only positive thought I have had is to maintain friendships. The Golden Girls had a great plan and made it work; I figure maybe I can move in with someone and help them with their rent/mortgage some day, if need be...and i hope they like cats
    Best to you. You are not alone in this feeling.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  5. #5
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    It's hard not to worry about the unknown and there is no way to really know what the future will have in store for you. DH and I go back and forth on feeling good about where we think we will be and worrying about weather there will be enough. My dad is 82 and he is penny-pinching sometimes to an embarrassing degree even though DH and I have guess-timated that he should be good even if they both lived to be 100. That's not likely since my mom (77) is already entering the later stages of Alzheimer's and my dad has his own issues. You are far from alone.

    Have you gotten estimates on your social security income? Don't forget to factor that in -- not rely solely on it, but don't forget it.

    Have you looked into long term care insurance? DH and I were both able to get it through a previous employer and then keep it. The younger you can get it, the more financial sense it makes. I don't know how typical our coverage is, but even though it has limits and won't pay everything forever, it does give us some pretty significant protection against one of the biggest money drains while aging.

  6. #6
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    I listen to Dave Ramsey a lot and he says that very few people need long term CARE insurance before age 60 (Robin's teacher with a family history of early-onset Altzeimers as an example), but you do need long-term DISABILITY in the event that you cannot work and there is no other source of income in the house.

    I think your concern is common - and even greater for those like myself who are going to be writing tuition checks in our
    60's. I'm 48, Scott is 52, Holly is 12, Robin is 7 - do the math....

    My sister lives in SF suburbs and bought a mobile home in a really nice park in order to have homeownership at about the price of rent elsewhere. She is building equity (unlike the typical mobile home dweller) because 'affordable' housing is so limited in the SF area. It's a thought if you don't live in a tornado-prone area.


    SSM
    Now Robin's Mom too...10/21/02

  7. #7
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    A couple of thoughts.

    1. I'm not asking you to share the answer with us, but are you likely to inherit? Some people forget about this.

    2. We started to work with an excellent financial adviser when we were in our forties and it made all the difference. If you do decide to go in this direction, you may want to interview and research several folks as there are some ringers out there.

    Good luck to you!

    Kay

  8. #8
    I don't have much in terms of money advice to offer. However, if you're worried, then a certain kind of financial advisor would be helpful. I went to one a while back who calls her practice "fiscal therapy" because she believes money issues are as much financial as they are emotional. I've heard of others as well. Ask around and see if there are some in your area.

  9. #9
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    So our tax refund just came in the mail today, and there was a little flyer in with the check. It had a web address to order some free retirement publications. In case you are interested, it talked about how to calculate how much you need and create a plan, protect yourself from investment scams, understand how long term care insurance works

    http://go.usa.gov/lve
    “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed
    door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

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  10. #10
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    I echo others advise to consult a financial advisor. I work for one and have seen all sorts of scenerios play out. You are very smart to be thinking about your retirement while still in your forties. I would ask your friends for recommendations for financial advisors but want you to find a fee based advisor. Your path to financial security in retirement depends solely on your circumstances and an advisor will chart a path just for you.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollysmom View Post
    I listen to Dave Ramsey a lot and he says that very few people need long term CARE insurance before age 60 ....
    From what I have seen though, the key to buying long term care insurance is to buy it well before you need it. If you wait until you need it or are getting close, you will pay a lot more for it and it may no longer make financial sense. By the time you hit your 60s, you are in a high risk group with a short time to potential need for the benefit. You may not be able to get coverage starting them or you may not be able to afford it any better than the care itself. A company cannot write that coverage at the same kind of rates they would when you were in your 40s and stay solvent (ie, be able to pay those claims).

  12. #12
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    Long term insurance may or may not be something that a single person with moderate means needs or can afford.

    Most people don't wind up needing long term care insurance and the issue for them is that they wind up depleting their assets and so their surviving spouse is screwed. If you have no surviving spouse and no estate to protect, it may not make sense to purchase it.

    My understanding is that long term health insurance is now something that will be available through corporate health care plans with a five year minimum buy in -- i.e. the benefit vests after five years of paying into the system.

    However, that is really here nor there in terms of the reality of the OP's fears because the reality is that one can attempt to prepare oneself but as the past has illustrated, all the planning and prudence didn't protect many people -- good workers who were fired - many of whom will never be able to achieve comparable salaries -- not to mention making up the money lost during unemployment (or UNDER-employment); people who saved diligently who saw the value of their investments - both homes and mutual funds etc. decline precipitously (again even if it rises one has lost MANY years of "value).
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  13. #13
    Thanks so much for the support and your feedback. It means so much to me. I don't really discuss this with many people (IRL), so I found it so helpful to "talk" about it, and hear from others. I've been super stressed about it recently. Most of my friends are in dual income families so they are in different circumstances (not saying that we have to be in the same situation to talk about it, and they all have kids which adds other dynamics), and my family would get all upset if they knew what was percolating in this head of mine.

    I think that I have a pretty good grasp on finances -- primarily invest in good index funds, rebalance my asset allocation periodically, don't live beyond my means, have saving outside retirement etc., etc -- but recently I've been stressed about the unknowns and the future. Like everyone, I don't want to have financial probs especially when I'm old, and have to scrimp and watch every penny. And, what if I come up short. I need to find the balance.

    I don't live extravagantly, but I've always managed to really do/get what I wanted, since I always had a smart view on money and was wise with my spending and choosing my priorities. And, hey I liked that. I don't want to kick myself for what I've done in the past, and totally put the brakes on everything and take it to the extreme.

    Again, its a balance.

    Much of what Blazedog mentioned in the last post I echo. I lost a bit of traction the last few years with job changes etc (which I regret tremendously, but have to move on since it accomplishes nothing). When I play around with the financial calculators, its amazing how the money (typicallly) can grow when its allowed to grow for 20+ years so any money that I missed out contributing to my 401K really costed me. And, I know how unexpected things can put a wrench in the best planning.

    Many have suggested going to a financial adviser and I think that's a great idea to hear from a financial professional. I will ask my friends and try to get a recco. The ironic thing, if I was starting out in a career -- I think I would be interested in the financial industry.

    I find it staggering when I read how little many people not that far from retirement have saved (and I'm referring to those that didn't have an extenuating circumstances). Some of the figures are amazing. I don't know how they do it -- and unfortunately many struggle.

    Being single, the burden its all on me (where are those violins). And, it's not like my costs are 50% of a couples.

    I've run calculators with and without SS, just as a comparison. I will say, differerent calculators often reach very different conclusions so I'm not taking any of it as gospel, but using it as a rough framework.

    Kay, I will be getting an inheritance, but no clue on the amount. I tend to think of that as gravy.

    Lara, I did order the publication, curiouis to see what they say. Thanks for the link.

    As far as buying a place, the costs are just astronomical (even with the condition of the real estate market). I live in an expensive area which certainly doesnt' help things. A few years back I looked at places, and I was amazed at some of the junk out there for a small one-bed (I'm talking way under 1000 sq ft) for the bargain price of $450,000. I know that you can more value in other neighborhoods, or farther outside the city --- but still IMO quite pricey. Hey an outdoor parking space often goes for many tens of thousands.

    Thanks again. I so appreciate you all taking the time to write.
    Last edited by frenchtoast; 04-20-2010 at 10:36 PM.

  14. #14
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    msnbc had an article today about cutting expenses during retirement, and there were also several related articles about what to do in your 30's, 40's, etc... as well as a calculator that lets you see how you compare to others in your age group. Some good basic info and an interesting read.

    Here's the link:

    Retirement funding
    kathyb


    Less rhetoric, more cowbell!

  15. #15
    Thanks KathyB.

  16. #16
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    Something to think about......

    This is somewhat related, but might be a way to approach retirement savings.

    I'm married, but have no children, no siblings, no other family. I've always been worried about care as I get older. I may outlive my husband, he may outlive me, we both may need care. Because of this, we've signed up for a continuing care retirement community. They come in all shapes and forms, but with the one we want to enter, you pay an entry fee and then an established monthly fee and everything else is taken care of. You start off living in either a house or apartment (pricing is different depending on what you choose), and age into either assisted living or their version of nursing home. You do not buy long term care insurance - this is your long term care. Even if you run out of money, the community will let you stay - however, they do evaluate your financial status upon entry to attempt to assess whether you'll have enough to pay the monthly fees for the rest of your life. We've decided to go this route because it takes away the burden of home ownership - no repairs, no utility bills, once-a-week housekeeping, one to three meals a day. This retirement plan has also made the math much easier. If we can handle the entrance fee and the monthly fees, we should be OK.

    The downside is you could pay your entry fees (sometimes a good chunk of money) and die the next week. There's no refund to anyone. However, you could pay your entry fee and live another 40 years! Since we're not concerned about passing money onto children, it's a pretty good deal for us.

  17. #17
    Wintersummer --

    Sorry for the late reply. I just came across your post.

    Thanks so much for your input -- happy to read that you have a plan that works for you. I know very little about the type of community you mentioned. I see ads on tv and in the paper for places that might be similar to what you mentioned -- but you only get a snippet of info from the ads.

    I'm trying to get a handle on my money stress.... still a work in progress.


    Thanks again everyone for your comments, suggestions, and support. Much appreciated!

  18. #18
    Back again. Wish I could say my stress has abated -- but no. Has kept me up more than a few times and often a big stressor during the day.

    Once again, I spent some time plugging in some figures into those financial calculators found on so many financial sites (any favs by the way?) and spending a good amount of time looking at my brokerage statements, rebalancing my IRA rollover etc. I know the figures from all those financial calcuators vary widely, and many say they don't give an accurate picture --- and I certainly don't treat it as gospel. And then there is the difficulty of plugging in the data (by seeing into the future).

    I knew it would stress me out. But no, that didn't stop me (sometimes its like I ask for it, bring it on, dwelll on it, spend time on the net and let my head spin). Can't have your head in the sand, although sounds real nice at times. I have to find the happy medium.

    I can clearly connect the ton of chocolate I ate, directly to this. Don't need to be a rocket scientist to see I'm a stress eater.

    Maybe its because most people don't talk about money. I certainly doubt everyone I know is in fact quite satisfied with the amount of money socked away. It just seems sooo overwhelming. All you hear in the media, is that so many aren't even close to being prepared in their finances, from an emergency fund, to retirement etc.

    This whole financial burden is weighing on me, and I know I'm not the only one. What do I think the Dove chocolate acts as a cushion.

    The fact that I live in one of the most expensive cities doesn't help. Certainly my money would go way farther in other areas.

    Now if I use some of the figures as just a totally rough framework, the money I need to sock away seems daunting. I was speaking to my mom this week, and she asked me what I was doing. I said, just playing around and plugging in some of my financials into some financial calculators. Her response, oh don't spend your time on that. Hmmm, I should have asked if she has a cool 2 mill socked away behind her bottles of balsamic with my name on it. Actually I think she would rather spend my time on Match.com.

    So I want to try to make up some lost headway from when I was laid off and had to dip into savings, the periods of time the company I worked for didn't offer a 401K etc. It's the "how" to really make significant headway -- that's the tough part.

    Time to look again at my expenses. I don't use a monthly budget (hmmm, maybe I should), but I can rattle off most of my expenses/costs and have a good handle on what I spend. My big expenses are my rent, health insurance premiums. But I know I can make make some tweaks to my expenses (always a good thing). And, I really need to figure out how much money I spend on food/month, that's the one figure I always guess at. That could be a bit eye opening.

    I just know that sometimes when you go tooo lean with your money, that its like dieting, that you get to a point of being too strict and you want to "cheat" -- whether with food, or in this case, spending. Again, happy medium.

    Finding a better paying job with ideally good benefits. ---that's moving way up on the list of priorities. Ah, and match with my 401K, wouldn't that be nice. Making more money will help me out more than not buying that avocado or "costly" lime.

    I don't even know what I'm asking. It just seems overwhelming. I don't want to turn money into that "big green (ha) monster" that sucks all the fun and enjoyment out. And, is a constant stressor.

    I've always been responsible with my money, never any credit card debt, contributed to my savings/retirement. But now I'm like.... man, wish I did more. Like sooo many. Funny, my dad (worked in finance) would often tell me to save less, and enjoy more.

    I haven't gone to a financial advisor, but certainly a good idea.

    Just don't know how to approach something that seems so daunting and impossible (if I aim for certain figures). But I know I want to try to prepare as best I can for the financial surprises that can come ones way, have a comfortable retirement etc.

    Oy.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by frenchtoast; 11-20-2011 at 10:36 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by hollysmom View Post
    I listen to Dave Ramsey a lot and he says that very few people need long term CARE insurance before age 60 (Robin's teacher with a family history of early-onset Altzeimers as an example), but you do need long-term DISABILITY in the event that you cannot work and there is no other source of income in the house.

    I think your concern is common - and even greater for those like myself who are going to be writing tuition checks in our
    60's. I'm 48, Scott is 52, Holly is 12, Robin is 7 - do the math....

    My sister lives in SF suburbs and bought a mobile home in a really nice park in order to have homeownership at about the price of rent elsewhere. She is building equity (unlike the typical mobile home dweller) because 'affordable' housing is so limited in the SF area. It's a thought if you don't live in a tornado-prone area.


    SSM
    I think Dave Ramsey would advocate having the kids pay for their own college. And I have seen other financial gurus (Suze Orman) that you should not go into debt for your kids to go to college since that affects your ability to retire. If college is not possible without a loan, it should be the kids loan.

  20. #20
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    We found a financial advisor through our tax accountant. We pay him a fee per hour up front, so he has nothing to gain by what stocks or bonds we buy or how we spend our money, although he did give us roughly the same figures that the advisor associated with DH's work retirement fund provided, which was reassuring. His calculations of the rate of return, which he made several years ago, obviously aren't accurate today, but he still thought that we would need to dip into our stocks before SS kicked in, after retirement, and we didn't need to do that. Of course we have a pension AND health insurance, which puts us way ahead of a lot of people. But our expenses after we retired went way down, and we still had enough for trips and dinners out sometimes.

    Our financial advisor's feeling is that there's a very small group of people who should be considering long term care insurance, and who fall in the middle between those who would be covered by federal safety nets and those who have enough in assets to manage on their own. I've read that opinion elsewhere, too. Charles Schwab says, in "You're Fifty - Now What?", "If your assets are close to $1 million to $1.5 million, you may conclude that you'll be able to handle the costs of long-term-care insurance yourself — in other words, self-insure. If you're at the other end of the spectrum (with assets closer to $200,000 or less), the premiums may well be too high. Generally speaking, long-term-care insurance probably makes the most sense for people with assets in the middle six-figure range." (p. 217.)

    I dug this up from an email discussion I had with my sister several years ago...
    Chacun à son goût!

  21. #21
    To get a totally different perspective, there was a book that came out recently on elderly people. It was written by a sociologist/academic type person. She investigated the happiness levels of people who were 60 and up. She found that it actually wasn't correlated to financial savings, but to the investments they had made in relationships. True.
    I was speaking a few years ago to a man in his early 70s or so. He had lost a lot of money on the stock market in his late 50s, which pretty much took out his retirement nest. He was doing alright, limited in income from government pension, but happily married with children and grandchildren. He said to me "Wealthy in a relationship is worth more than money in the bank."

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by foodfiend View Post
    To get a totally different perspective, there was a book that came out recently on elderly people. It was written by a sociologist/academic type person. She investigated the happiness levels of people who were 60 and up. She found that it actually wasn't correlated to financial savings, but to the investments they had made in relationships. True.
    I was speaking a few years ago to a man in his early 70s or so. He had lost a lot of money on the stock market in his late 50s, which pretty much took out his retirement nest. He was doing alright, limited in income from government pension, but happily married with children and grandchildren. He said to me "Wealthy in a relationship is worth more than money in the bank."
    But that's true only if a person has enough to meet their needs so it's relative. I don't think someone who has many millions in assets is happier but I don't think someone who objectively has limited funds is happier unless those relationships are replacing financial needs in some way - i.e. how is an older person able to fend for themselves with limited means.

    I don't know if my friends with lots of money are "happier" but they would most definitely be less happy if they had to constantly worry about money.

  23. #23
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    Amarante, I was thinking the same thing. The above assumed that the needs for food, shelter and health care are met, and sometimes that's a tall order. I have an email friend who has to worry each month about whether she's going to be able to pay the bills or lose the farm, and she has no medical insurance except Medicare, which won't pay for dental work or anything really expensive that's not life-threatening. It's a miserable life.
    Chacun à son goût!

  24. #24
    I don't mean to patronize or dismiss people who face immediate financial hardships. I wanted to bring another viewpoint to the discussion. The author of the study herself was very surprised by her results.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by foodfiend View Post
    I don't mean to patronize or dismiss people who face immediate financial hardships. I wanted to bring another viewpoint to the discussion. The author of the study herself was very surprised by her results.
    I didn't take it as such - I am just questioning who she questioned and what were their financial means.

    For example, the man who lost a bundle in the stock market has a government pension and presumably didn't lose his entire investment. A government pension plus whatever is left in his retirement funds plus the generally good health retirement benefits that government worker has means that he is probably living more comfortably than many people. I would also suspect that he owned his own home with no mortgage.

    There is just a huge leap between those who don't have money to burn and those who don't have enough to afford what most people would consider to be non-luxury items. We're speaking only about the retired but a growing number of working Americans also live close to the edge economically.

  26. #26
    Thanks everyone. I so appreciate all your comments.

    I know I have to find a way to try to deal with the stress since it is taking way too much space in my head and weighs quite heavily on me. Funny (ok maybe the wrong word) that I never had any real money stress before, thankfully. I've always been very good with my money, have a pretty good knowledge of personal finance and investing, and never lived beyond my means. But I can kick myself (a big kick : ) ) for those years that I didn't contribute/save as much as I could. Too bad for many years my employer never offered a 401K match (what a benefit, free money). So all this stress is quite the surpise in my 40's.

    Just seems soooooo overwhelming, and the additional amount I want to save might not even be possible, but that certainly doesn't give me a pass to just say forget it.

    The fact that I'm not in my 20's and have 40 years until retirement is a biggie too since it would require so much less each month to save to get to X amount. Ah, the benefit of compounding interest. : ) And, I know that one can be super diligent and responsible, but then be hit by a job loss, family emergency etc. and that often can have a big impact on their financial situation.

    I want to boost my savings to make up for some lost headway. I know about the whole latte factor, and how spending a bit here and there all adds up. But sometimes just feels kind of futile to not do X, simply to save a few bucks, although I know $5 here, $10 here adds up. But its not like I want to save $2,000. If I did, then sure that would be the way to go. That would be easy, but I'm talking way more than that to make up for some lost traction due to unemployment/slow economy, some dipping into my savings because of the economic slowdown etc.

    I reviewed my budget and there doesn't seem to be much fat (unless I made drastic changes like move to a cheaper geo area etc). So I guess increasing the income is the way to go. Easier said than done, especially in this economy.

    I wonder if many people just try to ignore finances since it could be so stressful/scary/overwhelming depending on their situaion. But putting your head in the sand, is not the answer. Although certainly tempting at times.

    I think speaking with a financial advisor would be a good idea. I've only had the free consults from Charles Schwab etc just to check if my choices/allocations seemed good.

    Off to check out the sales on Amazon. Only joking.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by frenchtoast; 12-04-2011 at 08:13 PM.

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