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The Time to Plan Your Retirement is Now

Earl G. Graves Sr., Chairman & Publisher, Black Enterprise

Earl G. Graves Sr., Chairman & Publisher, Black Enterprise

You’re 30 years old. Do you have any idea how much money you’ll need to support yourself in retirement? Let’s assume that you want to retire at the traditional age of 65, and that you intend to live fairly modestly, requiring only $40,000 in annual income in today’s dollars. Let’s also assume that you’ll be here to celebrate your 80th birthday, and that you’ll earn a 5% annual yield on your retirement savings. By the time you reach 65, you’ll need to have $436,000 in retirement savings—and that’s not accounting for inflation. Where is that money going to come from? Are you setting aside enough money today to live the last 15 years of your life without working?

As underscored in this issue by our feature “Too Young to Think About Retirement? Think Again!” the time to answer that question is now, not 20 years from now. If you’re serious about building wealth, there is no greater financial priority than investing toward your own retirement. And the earlier you start, the more likely it is that you will reach and even exceed your retirement savings goals. True wealth is about options. The more retirement planning and investing you do in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, the more options you’ll have in your 60s, 70s, and 80s. Trust me: It’s nearly impossible to enjoy your “golden years” if you don’t have any gold.

I’m speaking from experience, as I adapt to life as a retiree at the age of 76. Blessed with good health, a sharp mind, and a passion for black enterprise and all that it has come to stand for, I played an active role as an entrepreneur and business leader into my early 70s. Although my wife would say that I haven’t exactly mastered life as a retiree yet (let’s just say that I remain restless), thanks to diligent planning, proactively seeking sound financial advice, and disciplined saving and investing, I have plenty of options in retirement. These include seeing to our creature comforts, health, and security; supporting with our resources the causes we believe in; enjoying time with our children and grandchildren; and traveling to see the wonders of the world.

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