According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy is almost 80 years. This is very rough because a lot of it depends on people’s individual health situation, how old they currently are, and what type of lifestyle they live (i.e., active, couch potato, somewhat active).
The lifestyle also means types of food people eat as well – more organic options, hundreds of recipes online for healthy dishes like salads and green smoothies, more foods made with whole grains, products with no trans fat, lower sugar, sodium, and cholesterol (I’ve been trying to eat better lately but it’s more so to lose my belly rather than anything else at the moment lol). And finally advances in medicines are all making it possible for people to prevent and cure illnesses faster; ultimately resulting in a longer life.
However, you may have noticed that more and more people are living close to and over 100. So…….that means we all should at least plan to live for a long time. That planning requires money to be saved. The most fundamental way to do this is through a retirement account. If your job offers a retirement account, you should definitely sign up for it if you haven’t already done so.
Some employers offer matching contributions. That means that if you contribute, for example, $100 per paycheck and they match at 50%, they will put into your retirement account $50! So they’re GIVING you $50 if you put in $100. The best way to regularly contribute is to talk with your HR or Payroll department and ask them to automatically take some of your pay each pay period and deposit it into your retirement account.
The Rest of Us
So what if I can’t save a whole lot each pay period? How else do I prepare for retirement? Well, I would say to try to adjust your lifestyle to live below your means. People always say that…..”Live below your means”, but what does it really mean. Well for example, if you make $40,000 per year and live in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area, you probably can’t afford to eat out every night, always buy brand name fashion, or go to the Caribbean every year.
You should learn to enjoy things that cost like cooking exciting meals at home, visiting state parks, and taking care of your items to make them last longer. By living below your means, the goal is to save money.
Embrace A New Lifestyle
And once you start this process of living below your means, it can slowly become a habit and be second nature. Living below your means doesn’t mean to never splurge, it just means being more responsible with your lifestyle for the future you.
One thing most people want when they become older and are not able to work is peace of mind that they have accomplished enough in their life to be able to live comfortably. Since chances are we are all going to live longer, it makes sense to prepare and plan accordingly.