Live for today or save for retirement?

There are arguments for saving less than the minimum 10 percent of income many experts say you'll need for retirement.

Are they good arguments? No. But airing them might be a healthy exercise.

  • Don't save; discuss. Jim Wang writes "Devil's Advocate" posts at His "Don't save for retirement" — based on enjoying life now — has garnered some entertaining and informative comments in a discussion that in the end may persuade you to salt away more money.
  • Closing the gap. The gap between what people should save and what they actually put away for retirement can be vast, according to Jeremy Vohwinkle at the Generation X Finance site. Gen X is, generally, the age group just behind the baby boomers. Many Gen Xers are just awakening to the cold realities of aging and need to get serious about saving. Vohwinkle advises balance: "Clearly, you don't want to live a life of poverty for 40 years just so you can retire and finally enjoy the fruits of your labor. On the other hand, you don't want to spend like there's no tomorrow only to realize you're going to retire in poverty."
  • When is it hoarding? Most of us set aside too little in retirement savings. But is a 28-year-old guy who saves 40 percent of his income overdoing it? Probably not, according to this CNNMoney article. But it all depends on the person (and, we'd guess, the size of the income). When does saving become hoarding? When it cripples normal living. Otherwise, setting such a goal and achieving it can be a reward in itself, says the writer, Walter Updegrave.
  • Take it with you. You might save differently — including saving less — if you decide now not to leave an inheritance. This archived article from the Los Angeles Times says a surprising number of people are deciding just that. It quotes a wealth manager as saying, "I do not see my baby boomer clients giving up a vacation or wine or dinners out so that they can leave more money to their children, because they feel like they've already done it for their kids."

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