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Retirement Chat with Jessica Martinez

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. We asked some young Californians what they thought of retirement and what their plans looked like. Here’s what Jessica Martinez, one of our California advisory board members, had to say:

Have you thought about retirement yet?

Yes, I have thought about retirement. For me, I want to be able to live comfortably knowing that I’ll have basic things covered like a roof over my head and be able to pay for emergencies. I just want to be able to sustain myself so that I don’t have to rely on others. That’s why I know I need a plan to get me to a comfortable place for retirement. 

What does your retirement plan look like?

Right now, I have a 403B which is very similar to a 401K. However, I’m still educating myself on different retirement plans. I know that in order to have savings, I’ll need to pull from different sources of funds and invest in different plans and options that’s why educating myself on the options out there will be essential for me to have a good retirement plan. 

When you hear “retirement,” what comes to mind?

When I hear retirement, I immediately think about knowing your goals and what you need to do to accomplish those goals. For me, education is a key part of that process. You really need to have a clear picture of what you want your later years in life to look like and what steps you may need to take to get there.

When you hear “savings,” what comes to mind?

That’s having emergency funds available. For me, that’s what a savings account is at the moment. For example, I’d use my savings if my car broke down or if some other emergency would occur. Unfortunately, I don’t have a savings account dedicated for my retirement years yet.

Have you heard about Cal Savers?

Yes, I think it’s a great idea to provide options to people who don’t have a retirement plan. Also, it’s a good alternative to other plans that are already out there. I usually think that the more options available the better.

Why is planning for the future important?

It’s important to plan for the future in order to have peace of mind as you’re growing older and to know you’re secure in all different situations and stages of your life. Remember that as you grow older, you will have more needs.

Also, I think about my parents and how they are about to retire. My mom has some savings that will likely not last long. She learned about retirement plans late into her career and was not able to save the amount she might need for her retirement years. She’s worked for 20 years at her job and that’s what she’s got. Also, she and my dad have two young children which means more expenses are bound to arise. Fortunately, my dad has managed his money fairly well and had the opportunity through his job in construction to have a pension plan. Through my parent’s complicated financial situation I have learned what to do and not do as I plan for my future. 

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

Envision how you want your life to look like in the future and research what you need to do to make it happen. Make a plan and save as much as possible. When making your plan, take into account that student debt could hinder you and make it harder for you to save. Regardless, follow through the plan you create.

Jessica Martinez holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside and works for the Center for Civic Education.