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Where's the (retirement) beef?

April 21st, 2011 at 01:06 pm

Don't look now, but stocks are up. In fact, this week, which started out as quite the roller coaster ride, has been awesome for investors.

First, there was the downer S&P news about the U.S. and its deficit issues (though I'm not sure where the S&P folks have been hanging out for the past decade). And then, the surge on tech stocks such as Apple and Intel quickly erased the sour mood hovering around Monday.

Sadly, a look at my retirement balances today has stripped away any euphoria resulting from the strong market. Since my last two posts detailed my debt and budget standings, I figured it was time to finish the trilogy with a post on my nest egg.

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My current monetary assets
401k balance (wife and I): $45,457.79
Savings (emergency/sinking funds): $1,182.77

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I suppose, considering my debts, that I should feel proud about having put something away while spending like a fool in my 20's. But the variety of articles I've found online discussing the recommended investment amounts per age group would beg to differ. It seems that I'm short somewhere between $25,000-50,000 for a 30-35 year old!

Right now, I am contributing 2% of my income to my 401k while my wife contributes 4%. Yep, those are the cutoffs for what our employers will match 100%. I'd love to kick in more, but my debts throw me the shifty eyes whenever I start to consider it. Almost wish I could fast-forward the next two years ... almost.

4 Responses to “Where's the (retirement) beef?”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    What exactly do you mean by sinking funds? Is that like temporary savings for things that are not paid monthly like property tax or what exactly?

  2. mskills Says:

    LuckyRobin,

    Exactly. I can't remember exactly where I first read about sinking funds (Dave Ramsey perhaps?), but my understanding is that the sinking fund is a savings account to cover irregular expenses.

    For our household, the sinking fund covers Christmas gifts, home/auto repairs, homeowners' dues, trash pickup, cell phone minutes (Tracfone), registration renewals, and property tax.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Petunia in an OP Says:

    For you to have ANY retirement funds is great. I looked into how much someone in my age range has (not "is supposed to have"), and I believe the average for a 45-54 year old is about $50,000. I couldn't believe it.

  4. mskills Says:

    Petunia in an OP,

    $50,000 for a 54 year old ... wow. At least social security should still be around when that individual retires, but I can't imagine the combination paying out more than $2,000 a month. That is tight even for someone completely debt-free.

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