By: Katherine Brown, Research Associate, Castle Rock Investment Company

My grandmother loved to drive. After they took away her license, she enthusiastically offered the use of her 1989 Crown Victoria to anyone who was visiting her, whether they had a car of their own or not. She also purchased a motorized scooter to get around her elegant, eerily silent retirement home. Often, the only sound was the elevator music playing through the halls and the whirring of the small motor on her scooter.

My grandmother loved to drive fast. Gran’s scooter was notorious for knocking down other nursing home residents, potted living and plastic plants, and the occasional painting from a wall. Ever the charmer, she would convince the staff not to take away her precious wheels. And she always paid for the damage that she caused because her husband and children set up a generous retirement fund for her.

This chart is intended for hypothetical illustration only, and is not intended to be representative of the past or future performance of any particular investment. It assumes a 7% average annual total return with no withdrawals or distributions, and reinvesting of all dividends and capital gains. Actual rates of returns cannot be predicted and will fluctuate. It does not reflect an actual investment, nor does it account for the effects of taxes, any investment expenses or withdrawals. Returns are not guaranteed and results may vary. Investment returns cannot be predicted and will fluctuate. Investor results may be more or less.These stories aren’t possible without comfortable retirement savings. Rather than a funny family story, this could easily be a sad tale of an elderly woman who crashed into something and had to move out of her residence because the cost of damages were too high. In a worldwide Future of Retirement survey, 18% of US citizens said they would never be able to retire from all paid employment.

You don’t know where your passions will take you, or whether your spouse’s bad driving will become the stuff of family legend. Saving for retirement should not be taken lightly. Though you may not like to think about growing old, you will need an income one day when you’re no longer capable of earning one. Care for your 401(k) by saving as early as you can.

In case you can’t picture it, Merrill Lynch offers a free face aging service on their website. If you’d like to peek into the future and see what you’ll look like at 90, try it out.


Katherine Brown completed a Master’s degree in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration from the University of Denver. Her research and writing focus on international monetary economics and central banking. She can be reached at