DWTS (Don’t Withdraw Too Soon!)

October 12, 2010 - Laura
If you're up on your reality tv shows, then you probably know that DWTS is short for "Dancing with the Stars," the reality show that showcases primarily used-to-be and would-be celebrities vying for the #1 dance spot.
Dance aficionados are probably tuned-in every week. Non-fans probably question whether it's an "honest" living — even for a celebrity. I'm going to leave that debate to those who are most passionate about it.

What the show and the acronym did was make me think about retirement. After all, last season's DWTS had 84-year-old Cloris Leachman on the show. This season's show has 76-year-old Florence Henderson. Both women are beyond the normal retirement age and the age at which most retirees must begin the required minimum distributions (70½) from their employer-sponsored retirement savings or traditional IRA plans.  
Looking at Cloris and Florence made me think: Will I be as active in my retirement years? Will I have saved enough to enjoy retirement? How can I save more in the next three to four decades? What mistakes can I avoid as I save for retirement?
Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but the more I thought about the acronym, DWTS, and the ladies who are already beyond normal retirement age on the show, the more I kept thinking, “Don’t withdraw too soon.” Because, while those ladies get paid thousands of dollars per show to do the foxtrot and paso doble, that’s not likely to be my fate.
What exactly does DWTS mean for me? It means that I need to stay focused on my retirement savings goals, apply sound investing principles along the way, and that I should not withdraw money from my retirement savings account before I retire. And even then, withdrawing my money or retiring early, means I can run the risks of:
  • not having enough saved to cover expenses,
  • having too much debt to pay off,
  • outliving my savings,
  • having inflation eat into the value of my savings,
  • paying for unforeseen medical costs, and
  • anything else an unpredictable economy might bring.
So maybe not everyone made the same connection between a dance show and retirement as I did, but you’ve got to admit, the case for not withdrawing or retiring too soon is a pretty solid one.  

Feel differently? I would love to know your thoughts on this topic.

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