Tomorrow will end National Retirement Planning Week, in case you didn’t know. The event is supposed to get consumers from the, “Yeah, I should start thinking about retirement,” to “Let’s see an advisor and get a plan together” stage.
A noble effort spearheaded by the Insured Retirement Institute and other advocacy groups, no one can argue that we all need to think ahead and plan for how we are going to pay for our lives after we leave the workforce and take off for the golf course, travel to exotic places or just plain watch the grass grow.
In the interest of full disclosure, I include myself in the category of those who have yet to get off their couch and actually start a retirement plan. Like many, I contribute to my 401(k), have mutual funds in my bank and an IRA (which was funded by a 401(k) I accumulated from a previous job). Have I met with an advisor? No. As I half-jokingly tell friends and family, my retirement plan is to marry a rich old guy. But I know that is not a realistic plan. (Hey, maybe it could be.)
Yet I sometimes wonder if the problem lies partly with the industry and not just the public. Is the insurance and annuity industry soft-selling the need to formulate a plan for our Golden Years?
We’ve all seen the commercials from the major financial services companies. Most include an earnest-looking business person saying how they can get your financial house in order. Or they ask people to place a blue dot for the age of the longest-lived person they know. All well and good, but they do seem a bit, well, bland and oblique to me. Do most people understand what is really being talked about, or what is at stake?