I'm from the baby boomer generation and proud of it, but then again, I had no choice in the matter. A lot of people were born into the baby boomer generation and are now at the retirement stage of their lives. Many have succeeded to put away a comfortable nest egg for an enjoyable retirement but without a retirement strategy many more will struggle on little or nothing.
The problem has been recognised across the globe, as one of the largest work forces from any generation retires from active duty and is looking for support from the younger generations. With more people soon to be retired than are actually working, that's enormous pressure which will be placed on the public purse to support an ageing and retired population
It's no coincidence that many governments across the world have seen this problem eventuating and in many countries have implemented retirement strategies through compulsory or attractive savings programs for retirement.
In Australia, they brought in compulsory superannuation in 1992, which today sees 9% of every employee's earnings put away for retirement.
But, have the younger generations learned anything about using a strategy for retirement?
It's not hard to understand that if you want a comfortable retirement, you need to plan for it early. You need to have a strategy for retirement. The younger generations reckon they're a lot smarter than us baby boomers, but I'm afraid too many of them will end up struggling in retirement. And the silly thing is, unlike the baby boomers, they have no excuse. They have more information, via the internet, on why they should be saving more for retirement and they have more incentives and government handouts to make it happen. But still they don't.
Take, for example, the 2003 introduction of the government co-contribution scheme in Australia. It was introduced to help low to middle income earners put more away into super for retirement. If you earn under $32,000 in a year and put away $1,000 into super, then the government would add another $1,000.
That's a return of 100% - guaranteed. No risk. And yet figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show us that Australia has a workforce of approximately 10.8 million people and over 3.2 million of them are officially classified as part timers. In other words, at least 3.2 million people earning only a part time income and more than likely well under $32,000 p.a.
That doesn't include the people classified as full time who also earn under $32,000 p.a.
So how many people took advantage of the opportunity to make a guaranteed return of 100%? According the Australian Tax Office 2008 annual report only 1.2 million people participated in the co-contribution scheme.
What were the other 2 million people thinking? Where else are they going to be able to invest $1,000 and make a return of over 100%?
Let's take another example of a person earning under $32,000 a year from when they are 18 through to age 30. If they saved less than $3 a day ($1,000 p.a.) and qualified for the government co-contribution and invested that at an average net return of 8% p.a., they would end up with a lump sum of $741,400 at age 65.
$740,000 for an investment of only $12,000! (12 years x $1,000 savings). And that doesn't include normal superannuation either.
Need I say anymore, except, this is a retirement strategy even the obtuse younger generation could understand.