While he did not elaborate I’ve been assured by Stanford graduate and co-founder & VP of Marketing for PBwiki, Ramit Sethi who maintains an excellent blog titled ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich” which you can find at iwillteachyoutoberich.com that 50 is not too late to open an IRA. Sethi is quite well respected in his field and speaks at companies and schools on personal finance and entrepreneurship.
I will continue to dig to find out what someone who starts an Individual Retirement Account plan at or over age 50 can expect. I definitely think that low income people need to get more involved in managing their money and exploring options for growing their money because even they have options. They just don’t know they have options.
Poverty is only a trap because of lack of knowledge about options. Poor people aren’t talking about money except to complain about not having any because they don’t really understand any aspect of money other than how much of it they need to pay their bills and what’s going to happen if they don’t come up with what they need to pay their bills. They go along with the agreement that financial intelligence requires a college degree. In reality you really don’t need to go to college to acquire knowledge in any area. A degree proves you went to a university. It doesn’t prove you know anything. Poor and uneducated people buy into the mentality that knowledge is out of their reach unless they go to school which for one reason or another they cannot/will not do. Knowledge is all around and often free for the taking. You just need to want it. Knowledge is not for some but not for others. Knowledge isn’t something you have a right to because you’re special. Everyone is equally entitled.
The problem is, even in a formal school setting, information is not being delivered on a level that people can truly comprehend. Particularly with regard to the subject of money, in my own efforts to self-educate, what I find is that things aren’t being explained clearly enough for those of us who aren’t versed in the subject of economics to understand well enough to consider ourselves armed with valuable information. There’s an assumption that the subject of money is basic common sense, but when you start talking in economics terminology even college educated folks who didn’t specialize in economics or other finance related subject get headaches.
People aren’t interested in things they can’t understand. The more students grasp concepts the more interested they become in learning. We’re all students of life, and money is a big part of life for all of us. We should all understand how money works not just as far as knowing how much we need to come up with to pay our bills, or how much change we’re owed, or how many hours we’ll have to work to accumulate a certain amount.
We all need to understand from the earliest age possible that one of these days we’re going to have to take care of ourselves and we’re going to need money to do it and that things will come up in our lives, including a point when we’ll be too old to work, but we’ll still be responsible for ourselves financially, and if we don’t have any money we’ll end up living under a bridge somewhere. Because everything is controlled by money and the quality of the life we live from birth to demise is affected in some way by having or lacking money. And it’s in our older ages when we’re most vulnerable because no one is going to take care of us. Even nursing homes cost money; so it’s important to be prepared because everybody gets old, unless they die young.