PeerStory: Riding the Retirement Roller Coaster

PeerFinance101 is about helping each other out with personal finances. From peer lending to sharing stories about managing debt, investing and anything related to meeting your financial goals.

Read the PeerStories and you’ll see that your own personal finance challenges are not so unique but you might just find some unique ways of dealing with them. 

Our PeerStory this week is from Travis. His story is one so many people experienced during the financial recession and one that many are still trying to get through six years after. 

Here is his story of how he put his retirement goals back on track after a rocky start 

In 2006 I was wrapping up a 35-year career in newspaper publishing, first in Minneapolis then just outside of Detroit. I had saved what I could and was ready to retire modestly when I turned 63 in 2008. 

By 2006 I was tired of hearing my friends talk about how they were buying vacation homes and boosting their retirement plans on the money they were making in real estate or the stock market. 

I had never been much for real estate so thought I could at least put some more of my retirement savings in stocks. I had most of my savings in government and corporate bonds, about 10% in some real estate funds and 20% in stocks. 

By the end of the year, I had sold off a lot of my bonds and had 70% in stocks along with the 10% in real estate funds. I put my money back in bonds with a small portion in stocks and real estate funds, almost exactly the percentages I had before. 

In hindsight, I don’t regret missing out on the rebound in stocks since 2009. Even if you had told me that stocks would rebound soon after I sold mine, I don’t think I would have cared. I just wanted out and back to the stability I knew. 

I can thank God that I still had my job and only lost 35% of my savings. I know a lot of people that lost their job and were forced to take crap jobs because no one would hire someone over 60 years old.

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