Sunday, August 15, 2010

Randy McClain: Save early, often, exec turned author advises

Jackson National Life Insurance has already turned out to be a stellar corporate citizen — even before its newly planned regional headquarters with a projected 400 or more employees gets in full swing in Franklin.
The Michigan-based insurer has given at least $250,000 to local flood relief, and now it's dispatching Gregory Salsbury, a corporate executive turned author, to Nashville to offer key lessons in 21st-century retirement planning to a populace shell-shocked by Wall Street turmoil, bank bailouts and uncertain 401(k) accounts.

Salsbury, an executive vice president with Jackson National Life Distributors, will be at the Hilton Nashville Downtown on Saturday, Aug. 28, for a 90-minute financial help session. It starts at 10:30 a.m. and runs until noon, and there'll be time for questions from the audience.

His advice — delivered in a colorful new book, Retirementology, Rethinking the American Dream — gently scolds working Americans for a history of missteps with money and an unfortunate knack for skewed or no financial planning. Among the gaffes that damage our retirement goals are:

Too many people fall into the trap of thinking only in terms of "the zone." The zone revolves around the false premise that there is a crucial 10- or 15-year period before you quit working in which it's possible to make up for lost time and amass enough cash to live comfortably in retirement, no matter how little you may have put aside earlier in life. Solution: Spend wisely, save consistently.

Few investors are logical about saving for retirement. Everyone obsesses about "the one true number" they'll need. But too many people fail to take advantage of simple strategies offered to them. Seventy percent of Generation Y workers don't take part in their employer-sponsored retirement accounts. And too many workers 45 and up stop contributing to their 401(k) accounts, Salsbury says.

Don't waste money

Think of every financial decision — even those made in your 20s — as a retirement decision. And don't waste money. Salsbury jokes about "zoomers," those over-caffeinated baby boomers spending up to $20 a day on designer coffees, when that extra money should go in a piggybank.

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