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Retirement fairy tales can be costly in the long run

Time to face reality: Saving for retirement or

Time to face reality: Saving for retirement or for long-term care is important. Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto / SasinParaksa

You can kid yourself if you want to, but denial is costly, especially when it comes to finances. Maybe you believe trouble only comes to the neighbors, and as for retirement, play now, tomorrow will take care of itself. Such thoughts might make you feel better, but you’re likely to find out that fairy tales are expensive. Here are just two examples.

  • Retirement is too far away to be real: Some young people won’t commit to saving for a distant retirement. But young people “have the potential to gain the most from the benefits of compounding,” says Alicia Waltenberger, a wealth planning strategist with TIAA in St. Louis.

Brad Stark, founder of Mission Wealth in Santa Barbara, California, breaks it down. Say someone starts saving $300 a month when they are 23 and earn 7 percent compounded monthly. They would save $151,200 over that time period, but they would have $913,112 by age 65. But if someone starts saving $500 a month at 35 and earns 7 percent compounded monthly, they would save $180,000, and have only $609,985 by 65.

  • Long-term care is a luxury: The good news is people are living longer, the bad news is you could need assistance as you age. Putting off buying long-term care insurance may seem like one less bill to be paid, but there are consequences.

Says Steve Forman, author of “The Advisor’s Guide to Long-Term Care,” a 45-year-old male in New York pays $943 a year for coverage that would pay $3,500 a month. A 65-year-old who wanted this same plan would pay $1,649 a year.

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