I just read the results of a Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll. The emphasis of the press release (and related media coverage) is their finding that about one-quarter of those saving for retirement had prematurely withdrawn their funds. I’m not sure this is surprising. Personally, it seems like I talk to people everyday who have taken early retirement plan distributions. To me, this finding is certainly disappointing, but it is not surprising.
Call me crazy, but I like finding things that are truly surprising or at least good blog topics.
For example, take a look at this paragraph:
Despite the decline in offering traditional pensions, over one-third of respondents with some graduate school experience expect to rely on a pension. This could be due to the type of employment that requires a graduate degree.
I’m a bit more skeptical. I’ve got a graduate degree. I’ve got plenty of friends with graduate degrees. I also know people who never contemplated college, let alone going to graduate school. Want to know what we all have in common?
We’re not getting defined benefit pensions. Now, if the statistic said that a couple of percent more graduate students believed they were going to get pensions, I wouldn’t make a big deal of this. But a third of all graduate students to rely on a pension? That’s not even close to reality. Paris Hilton has a better grasp of what’s going on in the real world.
My theory is that graduate students just haven’t looked at this “retirement planning stuff” too closely. They’re hoping that their education will make them more secure financially. The good news is that it can. The bad news is that it only does if they, like everyone else, understand the new world they live in, and take matters into their own hands.
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How about we vote? Just comment below with the following:
- Did you attend graduate school?
- Are you getting a defined benefit pension?
My theory is those who understand that a defined benefit pension isn’t the same as a 401(k)) already have a greater understanding and therefore long-term likelihood of reaching a successful financial future.