Social Security won't be around like it was for previous generations. What are Americans who have yet to retire doing about? Yahoo! News asked readers to share their strategies. Here's one.
FIRST PERSON | For as long as I can remember, Social Security benefits have been a point of drama and worry: Would the retirement age be pushed back? Would it even be available for my generation? The bottom line: My husband and I are not banking on any Social Security benefits in our retirement plans.
I'm 34, married and living in the Austin, Texas, area. For years, I worked in the commercial finance industry, privy to the financial records of some very affluent people. Many had significant income streams beyond a salary -- real estate, dividends, royalties and more recurring revenue that allowed them to earn a living without working in a 9-to-5 job. What I learned from my commercial finance years has formed the basis of our retirement plan.
Both my husband and I started working at 16 and have regularly since then. We have been paying into Social Security for years, but with so much uncertainty surrounding it, we have no plans to rely on it. We are actively contributing to retirement accounts, including an IRA and a 401(k). Annual contributions between the two of us are approximately $15,000 to $20,000.
We are also funding savings and non-retirement stock accounts, and we've purchased universal life policies in our early 20s that are accumulating cash value. We have owned investment property in the past and plan on investing in income-producing real estate again in the future. Our total family income is in the range of $100,000 to $150,000 currently. I plan to continue working well into our retirement years, on at least a part-time basis. This may allow us to continue to enjoy approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of our current family income after retirement.
Further, we are currently living below our means in an effort to eliminate all of our debts, including our home mortgage. Our house is one-third paid off, our student loans are almost eliminated and we have no car payments. The majority of our personal debt is tied in our mortgage now, and that balance is just more than $130,000.
Our goal is to have no debts at retirement, high account balances in retirement and non-retirement accounts and several different income streams so that we don't have to rely on Social Security income in our older years.