How To Plan For Retirement– At Any Age
Reader's Digest US|April 2019

One family prepares for its financial future and provides insights for the rest of us.

Kelly Anne Smith

Vincent Martin is 56 and on track to retire right on time at 65. That’s no small feat, considering that he has never used a financial adviser or other investment advice. A Navy veteran and an IT engineer who lives in Aurora, Illinois, Vincent is proud to have gotten here on his own. “There’s nothing a financial adviser will tell you that you can’t find written online somewhere,” Vincent says. He has tried to help his daughters start their own retirement funds too.

Self-driven financial planning isn’t for everyone. We all face a future of fluctuating costs—especially the costs of living and health care—and that means preparing for retirement can feel like trying to hit a moving target. Vincent’s path provides many good, allpurpose lessons on how to maximize your nest egg. But we also did what he wouldn’t: We asked financial advisers for further insight on his strategy.

Vincent’s retirement goal all along has been clear: “I don’t want to have to work,” he says. “I’ve been working since I was 14, and quite frankly, I’m tired.” Starting to save was perhaps the hardest part. After serving in the Navy for 15 years, Vincent found himself working full-time as an IT consultant and “just barely getting by.” On top of that, he was enrolled in college and got married to his wife, Pamela Martin. He wasn’t able to contribute much to a 401(k) retirement-savings account until his mid-30s, when he became a systems administrator at a bank.

In many ways, Vincent’s story is typical. A March 2018 Bankrate survey found that one fifth of Americans aren’t saving any money for things such as retirement, chiefly, they say, because they can’t afford to.

“Like a lot of Americans, I was in survival mode,” he says. “I didn’t have any money to put away for retirement, and all of my money was tight. I had no liquid assets after I paid all of my bills.”

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