ILENE DAVIS, CFP: Americans Need to Get Educated On Retirement Savings Options

By  //  April 11, 2019

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Don't Depend on the Government or Employers For Your Retirement Nest Egg

There are countless ways to start saving for retirement years. Get informed and find the best way for you as an individual to create financial freedom.

A recent article from Barron’s that focuses on Americans’ perception and understanding of the financial elements of retirement found that 53 percent of Americans say it’s the “government’s” responsibility to provide universal access to retirement savings plans, and 75 percent said it is employers who should be required to provide retirement plans.

Then there are those who were offered a plan at work but CHOSE to not participate because the employer didn’t offer a match, or the match wasn’t “enough.”

What has happened to America?

For those 53 percent who say it’s “the government” that should provide access to retirement savings accounts beyond Social Security, who is “the government” in this context?

It’s hard to believe that over half of those surveyed are either woefully misinformed or really that ignorant.

There is already universal access to a retirement plan for anyone with income from work – its called an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

An IRA is a plan to enable someone to save for retirement, often with tax benefits. Anyone with wage income can contribute to a personal IRA, so there is already a legal pathway in place for anyone to save for retirement.

If you do not have an individual retirement account, opening one can be a great vehicle for stashing away money. A traditional or Roth IRA can mean more income in retirement. With both accounts, an individual can contribute up to $5,500 annually, and an extra $1,000 for those over 50.

For those who think their employer should be required to provide a plan, I ask, “Where should the money come from to provide it?” It won’t just come out of thin air.

Will employees take a pay cut to pay for it? If not, it either needs to come from reduced dividends for those who OWN the company, or in higher prices that customers have to pay for products and services.

And for those who have access to a plan at work but don’t contribute because there is no or “not enough” match, as my mother would say, they are “cutting their nose off to spite their face.”

Bottom line, everyone has a choice. You can choose to save for retirement, and in some cases get tax benefits or even a “subsidy” from your employer. Of course, there is no law that prevents anyone in America from building wealth by saving on his or her own.

The fact is, for those who CHOOSE to be responsible human beings, instead of waiting for someone else to take care of them, accumulating wealth in America is really quite easy to do.


Ilene Davis, CFP

Ilene Davis, a resident of Brevard County since 1971, is a Certified Financial Planner with a bachelors degree in Mathematics from the University of Michigan, a bachelors degree in Accounting from Rollins College, and a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University.  

Davis became a stockbroker in 1982, earned her designation as a Certified Financial Planner in 1984, and with a desire to serve clients more on her own terms, opened her own financial consultant office in Cocoa Village in 1986.

She has combined her professional and personal experience with keen financial insight and instinct into her first book, Wealthy By Choice: Choosing Your Way To A Wealthier Future, which was recently published by Tablet Publications of Cocoa Beach and is now available on and

She is committed to helping each client create their own “Financial Freedom Fund,” and believes strongly in free market capitalism and a “hand up rather than a hand-out” as the best path to prosperity.

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