One of the reasons I've always genuinely loved working with the social sector is the people. Warm and friendly do-gooders working to make a difference in the world—that's always a group I can have a great time with.
Unfortunately, I've noticed not a whole lot of other people have much love for the social sector, especially not the people writing about retirement planning. Pretty much every article I read out there focuses on the private sector without so much of a mention of a 403(b) or other social sector retirement options. So, now I'm on a mission to right that particular wrong.
Recently, I came across an interesting article about a few potentially major threats to your retirement from USA Today. In honor of my favorite do-gooders, I'm putting a social sector spin on it! Take a look at some potential threats to your dream retirement.
1. Boomerang Children? Try Boomerang Students!
Sure, supporting adult children is certainly a drain on finances, but supporting students who enter the classroom over and over again, year after year, starts taking a toll on your sanity. Teaching one or two children self-sufficiency is challenge enough. Imagine trying to teach a whole classroom full of them!
Okay, so boomerang students may not be that big of a threat to your retirement per se, but they can be a big source of stress. Don't forget to relax and enjoy the ride to make your road to retirement that much smoother.
When dealing with boomerang children, however, I think the key is to teach them financial independence early and often. And while you can always make the basement couch available to them for a week or two if they're struggling, I wouldn't advise letting it become a long-term thing.
2. Caring for Parents
The USA today article talks about the toll of caring for elderly parents, providing stats like:
“…25 percent of adult children younger than 65 help parents with things like chores and personal care, often at the expense of a paying job. In fact, people 50 and older who care for parents lose an average of $303,880 in pay, Social Security and pension benefits, according to a 2011 MetLife report.”
That's a whole lot of retirement savings left on the table! I've found that because the people in the social sector are so used to sacrificing for others, they're also a lot more likely to go out of their way to help out their folks when they're struggling.
Luckily, there are quite a few resources out there that can help lessen the burden, like the National Council on Aging's BenefitsCheckUp. Though I guess when you really think about it, that's passing on the care from one social sector individual to another social sector group. Whoa.
3. Insurance Woes
Your health and your spouse's health are both big factors in reaching a successful retirement. Serious and long-term illnesses can take a big toll on any savings you've accrued, especially if you don't have optimal insurance coverage. Long-term-care insurance and life insurance can keep you covered if something goes wrong.
Luckily, because so many social sector folks work on the nonprofit and charitable outreach side of things, they're often aware of just how much can go wrong and are pretty good at keeping their bases covered. Just don't forget to contribute to those emergency funds regularly and avoid doing something dumb like peeling out in an automatic car…
As our very own Vern Cushenberry writes, sometimes investors are their own worst enemies. Don't fall prey to your emotions when thinking about saving and investing for the long term. Don't forget that cooler heads almost always prevail over the course of your journey to retirement.
Social Sector Style
While the media at large may forget about social sector employees – and leaders have their own set of concerns and issues when it comes to retirement – we never do. I've always got the back of those in the social sector because they do so much work to have all of our backs, too.
Ryan Rink is the co-founder and president of Two West Companies, and gets really pumped up about working with the social sector. He's looking forward to summer and dunking his kids in the pool more than a few times.