You might think that people are well aware of the fact that they must plan ahead if they want to enjoy a comfortable retirement, but surprisingly statistics tell a different tale. There was a poll conducted by AP-LifeGoesStrong.com recently that was widely circulated in retirement planning circles that attempted to get a feel for how prepared people who are members of the baby boomer generation are for their retirement years. Some 24% of the people who responded to the poll said that they had absolutely no retirement savings at all.
One fourth of the poll respondents said that they would never retire. And, over 60% of them stated that they expected their Social Security benefits to comprise the majority of their retirement income.
Social Security is not going to be enough for most people to live on comfortably. It is important to understand that you are going to have to be proactive if you are going to be able to spend the last 20 or 30 years of your life comfortably without earning a paycheck.
People who choose to serve in the armed forces can take advantage of a very clear path toward a comfortable retirement. Veterans receive a retirement pension after a minimum of 20 years of service. So, if you were to remain in military service throughout your professional career and then retire when you reach full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration, you would be able to supplement your Social Security benefit with your military pension. This would probably provide you with adequate retirement income.
Another option that many people take advantage of would be to retire after 20 years in the service, start receiving a pension, and then embark on a career in the private sector. Your civilian earnings would presumably be enough to pay your way, so your military pension would simply accumulate until it was time to retire. If you were to contribute into a 401(k) plan while you were working your civilian job you would be feathering your nest even more comfortably.