The Biggest Surprises in Retirement. Like surprises? Many readers told us they were surprised that their savings are holding up just fine, although several said that household expenses—and Medicare premiums, in particular—have been steeper than they anticipated. Indeed, most readers told us they are surprised at just how much they are enjoying retirement—even if retirement isn’t always what they expected. “I wanted something in my life that wasn’t income-driven,” she notes. But reader after reader made the same point: Retirement is tailor-made for a leap in the dark. And I was able to sleep at night.” Hit by High Costs All that said, a number of readers complained about two disagreeable financial surprises: steep Medicare premiums and household expenses that were larger than anticipated. “The vehicles always seem to need something that you always ignored because you never had time to deal with it.” The Pain of Mortality For all the “good” surprises in retirement, several readers said would-be retirees should beware of unexpected jolts. “She and my wife had been friends all those years, so my wife is still part of our life,” Mr. Sears notes. Another warning from readers: Don’t be surprised if walking away from work is more painful than you anticipate.
There’s nothing better than a getting a little bonus when you save money. It’s been a staple in retail for years.
But retirement savings is hard. You have to make a lot of decisions: How often? How much? Which funds are best? Most employers — if they offer retirement plans at all — don’t make it easy for you.
An employer match is the one exception to the complexity of retirement savings. You make a basic contribution at a certain level and your employer will match a set percentage.
This “free money” is just that. It’s not your cash, but you have to save a certain amount to qualify. The advice on a match is incredibly simple: Do whatever you can to earn the match. You’re doubling your investment with almost no effort on your part.
According to the FINRA investor newsletter, the math on a match is pretty compelling:
“Let’s assume you are 30 years old, make $40,000 and contribute 3% of your salary ($1,200) to your 401(k). And, only for the sake of this example, let’s also assume you continue to make the same salary and same contribution each year until you are 65. After 35 years, you will have contributed $42,000 to your 401(k).
Now let’s assume you get a match from your employer. One of the most common matches is a dollar-for-dollar match up to 3% of the…