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I'm a success story (maybe?)

September 27th, 2016 at 03:08 pm

I was thinking about retirement today during some down time (OK, I do that too much I fear), and I was looking at the balance in my 457 retirement plan. I started to think that about how expectations change over time. 10 years ago I would have been ecstatic having my current balance, especially with a pension and other investments and a paid house, and I started to think back at how things looked then. And then it hit me...

About 10 years ago I watched a PBS "Frontline" video they made about our retirement system in the U.S. Basically discussing the 401k retirement system and how it was inadequate (I don't agree, but that that's not my point). In it they talked to various people from a company that never had a pension plan but very aggressively tried to get employees to save, save, save in the 401k plan for their retirement. The main two retirees talked with was one guy that didn't save nearly enough, and another was a fellow that had saved a fairly good amount and while he said he had wished he had saved more he thought he didn't do too bad. The fellow with the large amount lived in a nice house and seemed fairly relaxed about his retirement (and the narrator talked of him as a success story). And today it hit me.... the amount they showed for his 401k balance... it was almost identical to what I have saved in my account now. And that account was for both him and his wife (If I recall correctly). So am I a success story??? Hmmmm....

These days I go online and I see people with a million or more saved, and it makes me think I should do more. Yet I need to remember that I'm doing good and there is really no need to stress on this any more. I'll be in great shape whatever comes down the pipe at this point. (that doesn't mean I am going to go crazy spending however!!!)

7 Responses to “I'm a success story (maybe?)”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I'd say that you are a success story. Big Grin

    Oh, and since you have totals in your sidebar, I would guess that you will eventually get to $1 mil. Once you get to a certain point, you have momentum on your side. It might not be a goal or you might not think it's possible, but you are already 99% of the way there.

    Maybe it's just the extremes that stand out, but I See a lot of people who don't care about their finances at all, or lots of over-worrying and over-saving. I just don't see much middle ground.

  2. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    total success! Congratulations!

  3. snafu Says:

    As I see it, Suce$$ is written all over you with a free of mortgage house, defined pension and 457 investment with years to continue. The elephant in the room seems to be the huge change in life expectancy. In 1935 when FDR initially created SS, the actuarial life expectancy was under 65 y/o. With the disappearance of defined pension, retirees will need to be financially self sufficient.
    The sums needed in the future seem to play out as 10 yrs. of major activity and spending, 10 years of moderate activity and then it gets dicy. Depending on your health, and genetic luck of the draw, you can look forward to gentle years of modest spending or possibly years of expensive assisted living...

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I'm probably in that over-worrying category MonkeyMama mentions, so I sure understand comparing your savings to others and wondering how much more you will be able to save, and how far it might go in the future. Fear of what may be needed in the distant future can be very motivating....Nonetheless, my DH & I have arrived at the "future" and, to my delight, I find I am now pretty darned relaxed about it even as our thriftiness habits continue. I'd rather have done some worrying back then and have a relatively worry-free last decades of life. Choose you poison-- worry now while you can do something about it, or worry later when your options may severely contract. That is, make hay while the sun shines.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    I'm probably in better shape than most here and while I do feel a degree of security about my retired future, the cost of health care keeps me from feeling too relaxed about it. The sad truth is we're all going to die of something, and in today's healthcare system they can drag things out for years to the point where illnesses once considered terminal, like AIDS and cancer, can now be a "manageable" disease. Of course, we'll pay for that.

  6. rob62521 Says:

    I would say you are doing well and since you aren't going to go on a spending frenzy now or probably in the future, I say you are doing great! I'm like you, though. When I hear about folks having a million or more saved, I feel like I am not keeping up. Fortunately I have a pension as does DH. Our home is paid for as are our cars and except for some medical expenses here and there, I think we are doing fine.

  7. Westcoastwatcher Says:

    I commend you for your honesty and willingness to share what most see as very sensitive information. I have followed your blog off and on for years and view you as a good natured nemesis. Our financial situation is as close as two unrelated people could be and I can tell you that your commentary on the subject has inspired confidence. Trying to determine that elusive number that is the "right amount" can lead to excessive stress. As I look around at the situation others are in, I'm just now beginning to feel comfortable with considering retirement. I saved as much as I could and started early so that I could quit in my early 50's. I hope that we have made the proper decisions and look forward to youthful and healthy "Golden years". Cheers and great job!!!

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