Iowans aren’t well prepared for their financial future, according to a survey that also found we may be fooling ourselves. Analyst Karen Starr says a survey late last year asked people how confident they were about their preparations for retirement. Seven in ten Americans are confident or hopeful about their retirement finances, but she says the survey also found that most “have not done the essentials.” Starr is a partner with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and she trains new associates. While the organization suggests people use more professional financial-planning advice, it also finds people fail to consider simple things like how much they should save up to live on after they retire. She says 26-percent of Americans have saved either nothing or less than five-thousand dollars for their retirement. She wonders if they’re planning to keep working part-time after retirement, or perhaps count on Social Security despite the current talk about that fund’s problems and proposals to reform it. Even among people age 50 to 64, Starr says one in five has saved less than five-thousand dollars altogether. “That’s kind of a scary number, isn’t it?” she asks. “I’m not sure where they think their retirement money’s coming from.” She says people shouldn’t panic, but should get to work planning for their financial future. She says everyone must begin a savings plan for their future. She says a worker has to decide on a savings plan, begin to do it, and then check on it from time to time to make sure it’s working out and their investments are “performing” as they expect. Rather than watching the calendar for a retirement date, she suggests workers plan for a date when they want to be financially independent, and how much money it will take to let them live the way they want. Starr says workers should consider what they expect in a standard of living, how much retirement income they’ll need, and whether they want to work part-time after they retire.
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