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Regarding "Fools & Retirement" of 11/14/00, I am a severe case of the unprepared woman. I'm 49, single, no children. Spent 13 years being a musician (singer-songwriter) and am now a freelance writer as well. Neither vocation is known as a rewarding career in monetary terms. I have never had any savings at all, own no real estate, etc. My social security payments over the years have been pitiful, as most of the time I haven't even had any taxable income.

Just this month I am finally putting together a retirement strategy. I now work part-time for lawyers to pay rent. I can join my law firm's 401(k) plan and have about $5,000 in cash to invest independently as well. I may have some other money if my aging parents are able to keep from spending theirs on catastrophic health care expenses, but as it is their money I don't include it in my future scenarios. If I do inherit, I think my two (single, childless) sisters and I will just keep our shares together and invest as a unit to take advantage of the compounding effect.

I've been able to SEE the handwriting on the wall for years, but I have never had a stable enough or large enough income to convince myself that I could take out even a small amount monthly for savings. Unfortunately I will have to bear the consequences of that mistaken belief in later years. But I do not regret following my talents and inclinations to work as a creative and analytical person in fields that are not well supported by American culture. I do resent that women are so marginalized when it comes to financial planning. Thanks for the Motley assistance. It's encouraging and lucid. Wish me luck!!
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