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There’s Always Money in the Retirement Plan

In the cult classic TV sitcom, Arrested Development, one of the funniest scenes involved former CEO-turned-prisoner, George Bluth (played by Jeffrey Tambor), and his son, Michael Bluth (played by Jason Bateman). During a jailhouse visit to George, Michael indicated that there was money trouble, to which George responded, “there’s always money in the banana stand,” in reference to the modest banana stand that started the Bluth’s business empire. Michael thought that his father meant that they could always rely on the original banana stand when times got tough. But Michael, tired of his father’s interference in the family business, burned down the banana stand to show his dad who’s boss.

However, what Michael failed to understand was that George’s statement was meant to be taken literally. When Michael reveals that he burned down the structure, George responded that there was $250,000 lining the walls of the banana stand! George then attempts to strangle Michael, screaming ‘THERE’S ALWAYS MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND!” However, being in prison, he did not get very far in his comedic strangulation attempt.

So, why are we recounting sitcoms in a retirement blog? Because the lesson here is that the answers to life’s problems are not always complicated. However, like Michael, we sometimes look past the simple, literal meaning and make things more complicated, often to our detriment.

Financial security can be one of these things. People tend to complicate the issue by agonizing over concerns that are generally insignificant and the solution, itself, is simple: save as much as you can, as early in life as you can, and continue to do so to prosper accordingly.

While barriers do exist, for the most part, they should not prevent someone from achieving financial independence. For example, selecting the appropriate investments does not become significant until an individual has succeeded in saving. As for affordability, there are some people who live in or near-poverty and for those it may serve as a true barrier, however, for others, affordability is simply a self-imposed barrier. Those who want to be financially secure want to save and find ways to do it (which are not all that difficult).

In December, I will celebrate the 30th anniversary of my first day at Cammack Retirement Group, which means I will celebrate my 30th anniversary as a 401(k)-plan participant. That retirement plan is indeed my “banana stand,” both in the literal and figurative sense – because, if times get tough, it will be an asset that will always be there. I am grateful that I work for a retirement advisory firm since I have my doubts that I would have contributed to my 401(k) in a different setting. And that one decision — to save as much as I could as early on — is by far, the number one factor in my financial security today.

Yes, there’s always money in the retirement plan.

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Note: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice. Opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Cammack Retirement Group.

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