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Retirement Savings Looking a Little Light? Here’s How to Have the Last Laugh

By Margaret Manning August 25, 2019 Managing Money

Realizing that you haven’t saved enough for retirement is one of the worst experiences in the world. You worry about how you will support yourself in retirement. You start to fear getting sick in your old age. You may even start to suffer from feelings of guilt or regret as you look back at all of the bad financial decisions that you made in your life.

I Know the Feeling!

If any of this sounds familiar, I want you to know exactly how you feel. In my mid-50s, I realized that I hadn’t saved nearly enough for retirement. Worse, I still had a significant amount of credit card and other consumer debt. As a result, I was having trouble putting aside additional money to catch up.

Fortunately, just after my 60th birthday, I had a conversation with my son and his wife that changed my life. They reminded me that it’s not how much you have saved that counts… it’s how much income you have each month!

Retirement Savings Ain’t What They Used to Be

This distinction is especially important in today’s low-interest-rate environment. I mean seriously, how crazy is it that a 1-year CD might give you 1.5% interest?

This means that, if you follow the conventional wisdom and put your hard earned savings “in something safe,” a $1,000,000 nest egg could give you $1,250 a month.

Ok, I know that $1,250 is a lot of money for many people, but, you certainly won’t feel like a millionaire on this income!

Let’s look at some other interesting numbers. According to, the average monthly Social Security income, for a couple, will reach $2,254 in 2017. In addition, according to, the average amount of asset income (for example, money received from interest on investments) for a family with at least one person over the age of 65 was $1,542.

So, even those of us who were forward thinking enough to save for retirement, might find ourselves living on around $3,800 per month. Once again, this is not a small amount. However, if you weren’t as diligent as the “average” saver, you may find yourself living on considerably less.

The Good News? You Can Still Have the Last Laugh

If you are in your 50s or even 60s, it’s not too late to take control of your financial future. After talking with hundreds of people in our age group, I have become convinced that the best way to do this is to start a side business – preferably before you retire!

I’m not going to try to squeeze in all of the details of exactly how to do this here. I will have an entire course on this available on the site in the coming months. My main goal here is simply to convince you that having a side business is desirable as you approach retirement.

Starting a side business, while you are still working, has several benefits. First, the money that you make from your side venture can go into savings, helping you to make up for lost time.

Second, and just as important, starting a side business gives you the opportunity to build a revenue generating venture that will follow you into retirement.

Looking for Work in Retirement is Normal – Why Not Take Control?

Trust me… everyone dreams about spending their retirement years playing golf. Then, two things happen. First, they find themselves bored out of their minds. Second, they run out of money.

Unfortunately, by the time both of these things happen, they have been out of the workforce for so long that the only jobs they can find are in retail.

I don’t know about you, but, the last thing I want to do in retirement is spend 4-8 hours a day on my feet!

Starting a business before retirement allows you to take control of your life. Instead of asking someone else for a job, you can create your own.

You will be the master of your own destiny – and isn’t that really the main point of retirement?

In a series of future articles, I will outline exactly what it takes to start a successful freelancing, consulting or other business. For now, I hope that you will take the time to think about the direction that your life is taking.

If the idea of retirement is starting to become more scary than exciting, it may be time to kick your business plans into second gear! Let’s get started!

Do you feel financially ready for retirement? Do you think that starting your own business now is better for looking for a job in retirement? Why? Please join the conversation!

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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