We are quickly coming to a reckoning in this country regarding the well-being of retirees, says Jeff Bucher, a financial advisor who helps working-class Americans plan their golden years.
“I suppose it’s cliché for the head of a financial firm to say that he cares for his community, but we really do put our money where our mouth is,” says Bucher, who, through his firm, Citizen Advisory Group, has contributed to the local Boys & Girls Club, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and to development of an Olympic training center for wrestling at Ohio State University, his alma mater, where he earned a wrestling scholarship.
“My clients represent the bulk of America: honest, hard-working and typically blue collar or middle class. Most of them weren’t executives at Fortune 500 companies, and many are stressed out when they first come to us because they’ve been sold this idea of needing x-amount for a retirement nest egg.”
In reality, you don’t need a hulking nest egg to get by in retirement, and you may be better off without one, says Bucher, who explains why.
• Lifetime income vs. nest egg; reconsider what wealth means to you. What’s preferable to you: stockpiling money throughout the entirety of your earning years so that you can have a large nest egg for retirement, or investing your money wisely so that you can both use it during your younger years and receive paychecks during retirement?
“Two million dollars in savings is not the optimal perspective for true wealth,” Bucher says. “True wealth is not serving money; it’s having your money serve you. I’m more interested in offering folks true wealth via ethical financial structures suited to individual goals.”
• Obsession with a nest egg prevents you from doing things. Consider the mentality of an obsessive nest-egger: Hoard your hard-earned money your entire life, decade after decade, straight through retirement. Don’t spend anything on travel, or a vacation home, or anything else you may enjoy, because you have to protect the egg.
Life is short, and by the end of it, these folks haven’t done anything but work and save money.
“You don’t have to be a millionaire to do so many things for yourself, family and community with your money,” he says.
• Consider supplementing a smaller savings with a part-time job – seriously. You hear the scare tactics – Grandma doesn’t want to spend her golden years greeting shoppers at Walmart.
“That’s nonsense; retirees are some of the most talented people in our country, working as a greeter is not their only option,” he says. “Most of us have something we’d like to do that we couldn’t during our earning years. Retirement is the perfect time to indulge that passion! People are better off staying active, no matter who or how old they are.”
Supplemental income through a fun, part-time job cuts the income needed from a retirement nest egg and adds healthy activity. Teach swimming at the local YMCA, work at a golf course or as an usher at a sports venue. Or start a small business selling the crafts you’ve developed a skill for creating.
• Volunteering actually saves retirees money. When you’re at a job, you don’t have much opportunity to spend money. You won’t run up the electric bill at home, nor go to the movies, amusement parks, shopping or use much money getting there. While working, you’re too busy, and the same is true when folks volunteer somewhere. Volunteering at the hospital or elsewhere gives retirees purpose, engages their minds and bodies, gives them the happy knowledge that they’re helping others, and prevents them from spending money on entertainment to keep from being bored!