Suzy Wants to Know If She’s Done Enough to Protect Herself

Suzy wrote me through the GetOutOfDebt.org site and asked the following question. If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you for free.

“Dear Steve,

Recently I paid off all credit cards and am debt free with exception of my car payment.

I work a Sate job, have health coverage, a 401k, and I put approximatly 300.00 per month (from my paycheck)_into my retirment fund.

I am a single parent, but, now I’m close to retirement age and do rent (at a very reasonable rent).

My question have I done enough to protect myself?


Dear Suzy,

The bad news is that all your years of previously carrying debt may have not allowed you to save as much as you needed to. We can’t turn back those hands of time. But the good news is that you are currently in an excellent position to save moving forward.

It certainly sounds like you’ve done a good job to prepare yourself now for retirement. You’ve eliminated your debt, your housing expenses are reasonable and if the state is matching part of your contributions into your 401k, then you are doing all you can.

With the stock market in such turmoil right now it would probably be a good idea to speak to an adviser at the 401k company and ask for advice in how to protect your retirement fund from more market drops. This might mean moving a big chunk of your investments into something less risky right now.

Call and ask your 401(k) plan administrator for some specific advice and guidance for the money you’ve already saved.

Finally, one consideration is to not fully retire right now. Maybe cut back to part time? You’ve got a state job which is typically more secure than others. You might want to hold on to it right now until the economy gets over its downturn. It would be a lot easier to retain your job now than find out latter you need to add income and have to look for a new job.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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