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Sandy at First Gen American came up with this writing experiment to see what bloggers could come up with when asked to “write an article that ties monkeys or other primates to some personal finance lesson or topic.” This is what came to my mind when I sat down to write.
A few months ago, our friend took Mr. BFS and me on a personal tour of the zoo she works at. I met a bunch of amazing animals including Mukah the orangutan.
Mukah’s story is sad to me. He was raised as a pet but his owner completely ignored the diet an orangutan should get and didn’t invest in a proper living environment for him either and didn’t have a pet insurance plan so just didn’t take him in for checkups.. He was nice to Mukah but ignored the financial implications of owning a primate that gets VERY large and was finally reported for abuse since Mukah was living in a much-too-small cage and being fed cooked human food and beer instead of the diversified raw diet he needed. The owner refused to prepare for Mukah’s future.
This owner isn’t the only man to try to ignore what’s coming. As I’ve written before, only 69% of eligible workers participate in their 401(k) plans in 2010. That means 31% of eligible employees aren’t contributing anything at all!
Not only are millions of people passing up free money in the form of 401(k) matching, but as I mentioned here, according to a little side survey that was answered by almost 10,000 people, at least a third of the respondents aren’t saving anything at all for retirement and a further third are saving less than 6% a year! And by the you really should invest in a good budget software to track all this stuff.
How do they plan to survive? Even if you plan to work until you die, what happens if you just can’t? With age comes illness and frailty…you are not guaranteed employment forever.
Even if social security provides for them, they will have zero options. Money buys options. No money equals no options. That sounds like a depressing retirement to me.
If we don’t plan for our own futures and save for our own retirements, we will be as dependent on our government and the kindness of others as Mukah. I’m not speaking for all of you, but I want more control over my future than that poor primate has over his own.
If you are reading this and thinking, “it’s too hard to give up that income” – automate it! You will not miss it if you don’t see it. Even if you are saving, make sure it’s enough. Keep in mind your living expenses and inflation. I would think it would be better to have too much than too little when I no longer have the capability to make up the difference.
How much do you think is enough for retirement? Are you planning for your future so you don’t end up as dependent as Mukah?