Life provides turning points of many kinds, but the most powerful of all may be character-revealing moments.
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I'm retiring in a few months and between my 401k, my pension, social security I'll be making more than I've been making for the last few years "semi retired".
But I decided 30 years ago to live modestly, buy a modest home well below what I was qualified to borrow, buy only used cars and drive each one for 20 years, etc., and put the maximum amount I could into my 401k and other savings instruments to lower my taxes as much as possible.
Now, this is paying off for me. At 64 my home is paid off as well as my current car and and my credit cards, and I have plenty of income for my retirement years.
Perhaps this was only really possible because I've always been single with no kids; it's just me.
Plus, I understand that the whole pension thing is pretty much dead now; even the company I worked for for about 20 years no longer offers new employees any pension. So, that part was just pure luck.
But, perhaps I'm just different.
My younger relatives don't seem to have any understanding about living modestly and saving as much as possible; they like to buy very expensive toys and I don't think they have any personal retirement savings accounts.
Also: my former employer would match the first 4% of my contributions to my 401k, for the first few years, so I couldn't resist an offer of "free money".
I'm a Baby Boomer; my parents (both were children during the Great Depression) taught me to be frugal, live modestly and to save money; perhaps too many of my fellow Boomers did not teach their kids and grandkids about how important it is to save for retirement.
For a short-lived motivation boost, bragging strategically will help you.
The distinction matters, it defines the best approach to deal with the problem.
It's the most effective way to convey a positive image to our social circles.
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