Over the years I have observed that many of the people I have known retired most comfortably. Yet these same people made a moderate amount of money in their working years.
Being of a curious nature, I had many interesting conversations on how they became so comfortable in their retirement years, when others who made a lot more ended up in poverty, or close to it, at retirement. Those who were forcibly retired early did not have many funds in the way of savings, still had a substantial mortgage on their house, or lived in rental property. Some had children in college and university, and the retirement settlement did not keep them going until age 65, much less have a portion to supplement their retirement plan. After a lot of searching, many of them could only get subsistence jobs. Trying to get a decent position was nearly impossible for most at their age.
This happened to me. Besides 20+ years in offices, I had done a lot of temporary office work and was very highly regarded, I never expected it to be impossible to get an office temp, hmmm, all they offered me were factory jobs.
The class of living in many portions of the world has been going downhill. Toronto is a good example of this. Twenty five years earlier many people were able to live comfortably in their houses before and after retirement. Many woman whose spouse died after retirement found themselves not with half the amount of income, but one third to live on and found it quite easy to get employment from a temp agency. Even though the house was fully paid for, the taxes and utilities had risen so much they either went back to work or sold their house and moved into a rent controlled apartment. Now it is very difficult for those 50+ to get a job, and only at a very low rate of pay. Many took extra courses and found they still could not get a good paying job. Several woman I know have three jobs to be able to stay in an apartment at regular rent.
Nowadays those of many age groups cannot afford to live in their houses without renting part of it to others.
So, How did the ones in comfortable retirement do it?
First they did not live beyond their means and paid off their house as soon as possible. Second a percentage of their money went into retirement savings and third another percentage went into hobbies and trips or whatever fun things they preferred. Their bills were paid off mostly monthly. Any loans, such as for a car were done with a substantial down payment and plans to pay it off over three years or less. They carefully managed their money to live on 80% to 90% of their income. They did not spend huge sums on gadgets.
By the year 2000 and onwards, some people had a substantial income, and yet can just pay their bills. A really small percentage are more than comfortably off. Most have a financial adviser to manage their money and to tell them how much is the highest amount they can afford to pay for a mortgage . Of course, the plan is to pay over at least 20 to 25 years and the increase in value is where the equity is to come from. This is why houses are now beyond the means of a very large percentage of the population. Many lose their houses when the house prices drop well below the equity they have in it.
Keep a close watch on any funds you have in stocks, bonds and any other interest generating monies that you have a broker manage for you. I overheard more than one conversation by persons working for brokerage houses, complaining that they are forced to show an increase every single month. How do they do it? By flipping your $$$ into another fund, by either convincing you this is a good thing or doing it without your knowledge or consent. But then again you could have unknowingly signed this right to them.
The broker can earn large sums of money, putting your money into funds that have you sign away your rights to even get your money returned to you. Yes, you heard me correctly. You sign the agreement which is many pages long in fine print. There is the wording, you signed your money away! (savings! The fact that you did not know this does not matter, you/they have the agreement . If you did not read it all, too bad for you! The broker is the one who makes most of the money. You are guaranteed nothing, not even your principal back.
The money you have put away in special government tax free savings plans where you do not pay tax, in many areas of the world, will be taken from you and doled out to you at retirement at the amount the government deems appropriate.
No one is going to tell you this unless you ASK. Sorry, you did not know what to ask.? LEARNING what are the correct questions to ASK is up to you. Never give others complete power over your money. Personal responsibility is YOUR responsibility.
Hopefully you will know to ASK and this will ensure that you will be well on your way to having a joyfully, vibrant life.