Saturday, August 24, 2013

Building Retirement

Next week I start a new round of 401(k) meetings, so it's time to focus on where you're going economically, and why it could be a smart idea to think (again) about tucking money away.

... According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, the median retirement savings balance for all working-age households is merely $3,000. Sure, that includes young people who haven’t saved much, but the near-retirement households aren’t doing much better. The median retirement saving balance for households ages 55-64 is just $12,000. A lot of families are going to have a rude awakening when they finally retire and realize they have to downgrade their lifestyle significantly.

Households with retirement accounts such as the 401(k) and the Roth IRA have a significantly higher income and wealth. Those households (55-64) have a bigger retirement savings median at $100,000. That’s better, but even that figure is quite low. If you find yourself near retirement without a lot in retirement savings, you will need to work hard now to salvage your retirement.

Run the numbers now. The first step is to keep track of your expenses and see where all the money goes. Then you need to estimate your retirement income. Check your Social Security statement to see how much help you would get from Uncle Sam. Don’t get your hopes up, though, because the average Social Security benefit for a retired worker is only about $1,200 per month. If you have a pension, you can add it to your retirement income here as well. Once you have done this, you can see if there is a big gap between your current expense and estimated income, and you can start figuring out how to reduce the shortfall. ...

The average accumulation in the Guild's 401(k) Plan is now $79,000. Not awful, but not great either. Even though many TAG members are en route to an okay but far from fabulous pension, they need to put away more retirement cash, and the 401(k) plan offers a relatively pain free way to accumulate money. (There is no match, but the tax advantages are considerable. You pay no state or federal taxes on the wages you put into 401(k) accounts, and earnings grow tax-deferred.)

Today I talked to a long-time Guild member who is just now at a studio back east. He tells me that he talks to a lot of twenty-somethings about saving for retirement in low-cost investment accounts. He says that many are clueless about the impact of pricey, actively-managed funds on long-term investments, but he's doing his best to educate them. (Costs of, say, 2% don't seem like a lot over three or four years, but over three decades they add up to 60% of the total nut. Yeowch.)

Diversified, low-cost investing is simple if you allow it to be. What is sometimes hard is sticking with the program and starting the program in the first place. However, we'll do our best to make the first step of the journey as easy and accessible as we can. Find below out upcoming 401k Enrollment meetings, listed in alphabetical order:

Bento Box
Wed. Sept. 18th, 2 pm,
5161 Lankershim - Table Read Rm.

Disney Feature
Wed. Sept. 4th, 3 pm,
Rm. 1300

Tue. Sept. 3rd, 10 am,
Conf. Rm. 101

Disney TVA - Empire Cntr..
Tue. Aug. 27th, 10 am, Rm. 5223

Disney TVA - Sonora Bldg.
Tue. Aug. 27th, 3 pm, Rm. 1172

Cartoon Network
Tue. Sept. 17th, 2 pm,
Main Conf. Rm.

Dreamworks Animation
Wed. Aug. 28th, 10 am,
Dining Rm. B&C

Dreamworks - Dragons
Wed. Aug. 28th, 2 pm,
Main Conf. Rm.

Fox TV Animation
Thur. Aug. 29th, 2 pm,
Main Conf. Rm.

Marvel Animation
Wed. Sept. 4th, 10 am,
Marvel Anim. Conf. Rm.

Wed. Sept. 11th, 10 am,
"T.U.F.F. Puppy" Rm. A26.

Robin Red Breast
Wed. Sept. 11th, 3 pm,
Lrg. Conf. Rm.- Santa Monica Bldg.

Starz/Film Roman
Thur. Sept. 5th, 2 pm,
“Glass” Conf. Rm.

Sony Pictures Animation
Thur. Sept. 19th, 2 pm,
North - Rm 2050


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