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Are Impulse Buys Killing Your Retirement?

How Coffee, Muffins and Lunch Can Add Up to More Gold In Your Golden Years



As a registered investment advisor, Steve Orr is used to juggling millions, but he knows those millions started out as pennies.

“It’s the little things,” said Orr, president and owner of the Orr Financial Group. “It’s the dollar here, two dollars there things that we pick up every day that start to add up. The insidious thing is that it still doesn’t add up to so much that we think it could make a difference in our futures, because we only see those expenses in terms of the dollars we spend, but not the dollars – plus the interest – we could be earning on them.”

Orr’s point is that pension funds are being wiped out, companies are canceling their matching contributions to employee 401(k) programs (or wiping them out completely) and the future of Social Security seems dimmer than ever. That’s why Orr, wants people to realize that some of their everyday little impulse buys are robbing their accounts of pennies today, but millions later.

To illustrate that, Orr can demonstrate how simple, everyday expenses – when eliminated – can turn into big bucks down the road.

For instance, the daily specialty coffee from the local coffee stand costs about $3.95, depending on where you live in the U.S. If you got one every day of the week for about 40 weeks out of the year for the typical 35 year employment span between ages 25 and 60, it would cost you about $27,650 over that 35 years.

Consider this formula for a moment:

If you were to put the total of all these items into your 401(k) or Roth IRA or any other type of retirement investment vehicle every year for 35 years and you earned a minimum of 3 percent interest every year on that money, you’d have an extra $246,560 in your retirement account at the end of that 35 years.

Moreover, between 1970 and 2006, the annual return rate of the S&P 500 was 11.5 percent. At that interest rate, at the end of 35 years by Orr’s calculations, workers would have an additional $1,792,373 in their retirement accounts.

Depending on the state you live in, most employers match some level of contribution to a company 401(k) or retirement plan. It’s usually around 50 cents on the dollar up to 6 percent of your salary. So, if you’re making around $35,000 a year and you aren’t currently contributing to your plan, you could be losing out on about $465,000 at the minimum, assuming you never get a raise and stay at $35,000 a year for 35 straight years.

Keep in mind, those calculations are based on someone who starts at age 25 and retires at 60. Now, we know a lot of people don’t start that early, and many more are working way beyond age 60, so it’s still achievable even for someone in their 30s. When you wean yourself off the little impulse buys and put those funds back into your retirement account, not only will you lose a few pounds and get off the caffeine – you’ll wind up a little more comfortable when you retire, as well.

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About Steve Orr

Steve Orr is the President and Owner of Orr Financial Group, a full service Registered Investment Advisor located in Victoria, Texas. Victoria is located in the center of the Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, southeast gulf triangle of Texas. Steve has been in the financial industry since 1986 and has been independent since 1994.






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