TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Christine C. Marcks, Prudential Retirement

Thank you all for a dynamic conversation over the past three weeks around how we -- as individuals, as financial services providers and as a society -- can help address the challenge of retirement as people live longer. TED Conversations is a new forum for us, and we found your comments and this experience very insightful.

I believe there are concrete steps people can take to better prepare for their retirement. For starters, workers can improve their savings and investing behavior. Secondly, participants in workplace plans such as 401(k)'s should try to include some sort of guaranteed income component in their retirement planning.

We will also continue this conversation in other forums, and will add to the national debate through white papers on our company's Research & Perspectives site, http://research.prudential.com/view/page/rp .

Sincerely

Christine C. Marcks
President,
Prudential Retirement

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    Apr 20 2012: Having thought this over a bit now, my main thoughts are that retirement plans address an uncertain future, and the exigencies of the present tend to trump those in a tight pinch. The beauty of the Social Security system is the money is saved untouchable.

    If a person has both the discipline and the means to set aside money on a regular basis and simply leave it alone in a safe interest bearing account, that is a good retirement plan, in addition to whatever they may have through an employer. I personally nicked into every retirement plan I had, as life presented both opportunities and emergencies. So I was able to buy a condo after a divorce, buy a house when the condo lost its value in an earthquake and we needed to move, save the life of my daughter when medical insurance was not enough.

    Those on this board who are 20 something and outraged or older and blessed with personal wealth may not realize that voluntary savings plans work out great when there is excess, but when you need more, you do tap the savings, and pay the penalties. You are grateful you can do it. And you do not think of it as robbing your future self. All the plans you make never can take into account what you cannot guess at that lies around the corners of time.

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