What is SeSo?

SeSo stands for Save Early, Save Often. Here, I will be providing tips on saving and investing for financial independence and the occasional rant on things that get in the way of becoming financially independent.  Financial independence means you get to decide how to spend your days, and not have it decided by your mortgage and credit card payments. You do not need to make a lot of money to become financially independent, but you do have to be willing to save a good chunk of what you do make.

In its 2013 survey of American Households, the Federal Reserve found that the median total savings in retirement accounts of people aged 55 to 64 was $111,100 and for those aged 45 to 54, $100,000.  If you were to retire on $111,100 this would give you a monthly income of about $550 per month if you invested in an income annuity at today’s rates.  Even with Social Security, that doesn’t go very far.  The Motley Fool calculated that the average mortgage payment for these same age groups was $766 and $891 respectively. If all you have in retirement savings is $111,100, Average Americans, you cannot even make your mortgage payment with your retirement savings.

The lack of retirement savings will be a big issue not only for the individuals who will see their lifestyles seriously scaled down, but also for our nation’s economy.  Our economy is driven by consumers, and if a large portion of our consumers can barely make ends meet, we can only expect slower economic growth and fewer opportunities for the younger generations.

I recently retired from my corporate career in the investment and financial services industry. I’m 51 and I’m financially independent. How could this be?  No, I did not inherit a pot of money from a distant (or close) relative.  No, I didn’t sell my start-up to Google.  I never had a start-up.  I have been well paid in my career, and cashing in some stock options provided by my company did shortened my target time to independence by a couple of years.  However, the reason that I was able to retire at such an early age is that I and my husband Jeff are savers and planners.

Throughout my career, the focus of all of our clients was on finding the best investments and on investment returns. However, I found an astounding lack of focus on saving. Saving and accumulating wealth has been my lifelong focus, because it doesn’t matter how great your investments are, if you haven’t saved enough.

I would love to see your stories about the financial decisions you have made, big or small. If you have a story (good or bad – we all make mistakes) please leave a comment. Check back here for saving and investing tips, interpretations of the financial news and economic statistics, fun and interesting facts, and stories about how we all make financial decisions.

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