5 Lamest Retirement Excuses People Tell Themselves

Planning for retirement is a smart thing to do. However, it’s not always the most enjoyable activity. Reaching your retirement savings goal requires some sacrifice now so that you can enjoy life later. Even though getting ready for your golden years means you’ll have to give up some things today, you’ll thank yourself in a few years. However, not everyone thinks this way. Less than half of workers in the United States (48%) said they and/or their spouse have never attempted to calculate how much money they’ll need so they can live comfortably during retirement, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute survey.

Instead of focusing on the results, some people make excuses for why they can’t save for retirement. Here are five of the lamest retirement excuses people tell themselves.

1. I’ll work until I die


Trying to work until the day you die? | The CW

If you reason that you can just put off retirement savings because you plan to work until you die at your desk, you might want to rethink that plan. The odds of being physically unable to work at some point in your life are higher that you might expect. Roughly one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they have a chance to retire, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. Sadly, many millennials say they expect to work until they draw their last breath. A survey of adults aged 20 to 34 conducted by Manpower Group found that about 20% of millennials believe they will have to work until their dying day.

2. I need to save for my kids’ college education

glass jar full of coins displaying college

Your child’s college fund shouldn’t come before your retirement. | iStock.com

Your kids can get a scholarship for college. You, on the other hand, can’t get a scholarship for retirement. In addition, your child can choose a less expensive option for school or take on a side job. Transfer some of the responsibility for college financing to your children. It will teach them a bit of responsibility. The best gift you can give your children is to not be a burden on them when you’re older. In this situation it’s best to put yourself ahead of the kids. Don’t feel guilty, they’ll appreciate it later. Financial adviser Pedro Silva says many people put other major expenses before retirement and never get around to saving for the future.

People often cite car payments, child care expenses, credit card, or college debt as primary concerns and retirement saving as something to be done later. There is no way to make up for lost years of retirement savings, and those who can afford to save the additional amount later often take on too much risk to make up for the time lost. We often picture our lives in the future as being different; we will exercise, we will eat better, spend more time with our families, clean out the basement, etc. The truth is the changes you wish to make have to start today. Make a to-do list and write “call HR to start 401(K). Once that is done, move on to the next item, realizing you are in control and making choices to shape your future in the direction you want to go.

3. I’ll save when I make more money

Young woman thinking about paying bills

Waiting for a raise isn’t the best strategy for retirement saving. | iStock.com

Time is quickly ticking away. If you wait until you make more money, you might be waiting for a very long time. Raises and promotions aren’t guaranteed (neither is your job), so you might as well go ahead and start socking away some cash now. The longer you wait to save, the less time your money has to grow, so it’s wise to start saving as soon as possible. If you delay saving for retirement until you’re 35 years old, you’ll need to save more than 16% of your income each year just to produce the same potential retirement income at the age of 65 as a worker who started saving 10% of their income starting at 30 years old, according to the Insured Retirement Institute. If you decide to wait until 40 years old, you would have to save more than 26% of your income.

4. I can’t afford to save for retirement

wallet full of money

Being a little short on cash shouldn’t stop you from saving. | iStock.com

Saving for retirement means you’ll have to give up some comforts right now, but you really can’t afford not to save for retirement. If your finances are tight, work on developing a budget so that you can make room for retirement savings. Your future survival could depend on it.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA and Chairman of Debt.com, said the people who claim to not be able to afford retirement are usually the ones who are wearing most of their money in the form of expensive purchases:

The lamest excuses I always hear are the unsaid ones. I meet someone who tells me they simply can’t afford to save for retirement, as they look at their Omega wristwatch and climb into their leased BMW so they can pack for their vacation to the Bahamas. Yes, many Americans are struggling and simply have trouble making ends meet, and I respect and work with them. But I meet many other Americans who earn quite enough to meet all their obligations – but they spend frivolously without ever admitting it to themselves.

5. I don’t know how much to save

Thinking young woman looking up at many question marks

Not sure how much to save for retirement? | iStock.com/SIphotography

There are plenty of retirement tools available that can help you figure out how much cash to put away. This is one of the worst excuses for not building your nest egg. These tools allow you to create a retirement budget, figure out life insurance needs, estimate retirement income, and more. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to have at least one times your salary saved by age 30, three times by age 40, seven times by age 55, and 10 times your salary by the time you reach 67 years of age, according to Fidelity.

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