No. of Recommendations: 7
Since saving and investing are key skills and values usually needed to retire early (or retire at all in comfort) what are the barriers you see that deter workers from savings and investing, and what would better encourage people to develope those skills and habits?

I think the biggest barrier is an aversion to delayed gratification. For many of us children of those who came of age during the Depression, it comes quite naturally. Our parents had experienced such awful deprivation that they were going to make sure we didn't. I still remember sitting in the packed car with my brother, waiting outside the bank while my parents went in and signed the papers for the home improvement loan that financed our first trip to Disneyland. The family didn't have a pot or a window, but we had a great time.

I was 40 before I realized that piling up credit card debt to finance transitory pleasures wasn't going to finance a very good future. I did have the sense to max my contribution to the Federal version of a 401(k), which had been introduced a couple of years before, from the beginning, but that was the only savings I had.

It was primarily because of luck that I was able to retire early. My contribution was getting out of debt at 43 and socking away 40-50% of my take-home pay from then until I retired at 48. Your contribution, and that of other taxpayers, was a pension indexed to inflation and group health insurance at active employee rates for life.

As for encouragement, it's the electronic age. When someone argues that he doesn't want to discuss end of life issues my response is "Terri Schiavo." I think a 15 second montage of old people in a Medicaid nursing home run as a PSA on every channel every hour would help with the issue at hand. A voiceover "Don't let this happen to you. Invest in your future." would be a nice touch.

Phil
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