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Daphne Lun on Retirement

Young Invincibles recognizes the importance of planning for the future and having a retirement savings account. In California, for example, we’re supportive of programs like CalSavers that make it easy and accessible for young people to have access to a workplace retirement savings program and the peace of mind of feeling financially prepared for the future. Here’s what Daphne Lun, one of our California Young Advocates, had to say:

Have you thought about retirement yet?

I personally haven’t thought about retirement. It seems like a situation so far away to really stress over, especially since there are so many personal issues to deal with that are directly impacting my life right now.

Where did you first learn about retirement saving or planning?

I was never taught anything about retirement savings. My mom taught me how to save for rainy days, and I assumed saving for retirement meant the same thing.

When you hear “retirement” what comes to mind? 

The thing that comes to mind is my grandma. She’s retired, but is currently suffering from dementia so her savings are being used up pretty fast. I know typically, when you use a retirement fund, savings are sufficient in supporting day-to-day finances. However, I do recognize there are circumstances that prohibit those funds from covering unplanned finances that arise.

When you hear “savings” what comes to mind?

Since I was young, my mom has taught me the importance of how to save. Whenever I received any type of money, she would tell me to save half and spend half. As a child, I never understood why saving five dollars at a time would benefit me whatsoever, but when I became old enough to understand the value of money and saw the amount I had saved I appreciated the lesson. Whenever I wanted small purchases as a child, I was able to buy it with the money I had, but I also realized I was saving money for bigger purchases in the future. Learning how to save made me realize how easy it is to set aside a small sum of money, which will in turn become a big amount!

Have you heard about California’s new retirement savings program, “CalSavers?”

I recently learnt about CalSavers, but my knowledge on it is pretty limited. I had always had the privilege of working for the city or big companies, so I never knew it was possible to work and not have a retirement savings program. But knowing what I know now, I can see how relieving it is to have a retirement savings program for people working in small businesses and such. Having the program as an option will allow people to research more about saving for retirement and be more mindful that retirement is an issue we must think about and plan for even though it is far away in the future for us college students.

Why is planning for your future important?

I think planning and having back-up plans in general are important. Even though plans may not always go accordingly, I believe we must take responsibility and take care of our future selves. Right now, many have financial support from family and/or do not have high expenses that need to be paid every month, but when we do not have our parents to rely on and our financial responsibilities increase as we grow up, we must be prepared. Planning for the future gives us insight on what we will expect and gives us opportunities to find the best course of action. Planning makes us prepared and smarter.

What advice would you give young adults about planning for the future?

It’s never too early! There’s a difference between planning and stressing though. Definitely don’t stress over something so distant in the future, but it never hurts to be educated on what to expect. This way, certain situations are on your radar and when you are faced with having to actually deal with these situations, it will seem less stressful and abrupt.

What are some ways we can educate young adults about retirement planning, any why it’s important?

We can educate young adults about retirement planning by having seminars and classes provided in high schools. Most students start working in high school and should be educated on the different issues that arise when one enters the workforce. This is extremely important because for most teenagers, they are working for expendable income to buy unnecessary things. This is the time to start understanding the value of money and the pertinence of saving! During these educational settings, teens can be taught the importance of saving versus casually spending.

Daphne Lun is a junior at University of California Davis studying Sociology and minoring in Asian American Studies and a member of Young Invincibles’ Young Advocates Program in California.