Have you ever read something, then paused and said that’s the obvious? Then, after further thought, realize what is obvious to you that may not be obvious to others. This happened to me when I was scanning some retirement Headlines.

I’m on an article entitled “The future of social security: not good“. My first answer was ‘No duh!’ After further thought, I concluded that my response is likely to be in the minority.

I suspect most people believe that the US government is not going to fail Social Security. This is the same government that considered certain large corporations “too big to fail” and drawn other unwilling participants into the struggle. At the time, BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King was very open about how the government had dealt with the TARP debacle. And then the government is “helped” the auto industry.

The US government has become too big and too “helpful” to the detriment of its citizens. The government should spend more time on deployment for common defense and less time for advertising the general Welfare (Pun intended).

So what are your retirement plans? Will you rely on the government to print out your Social Security check and money for it, or will you choose to take charge of your future and prepare for it? As with most things in life, those who prepare for retirement will have more success than those who don’t. It’s really not that difficult when you start young. Here are three easy steps:

  1. Live on less than you deserve. (another ‘No duh!’ statement)
  2. You invest the rest with a solid asset allocation model.
  3. Choose solid, conservative, and inexpensive investments.

Number 3 may seem complicated at first, but it doesn’t have to be. For those who don’t want to make investing their hobby, they can focus on some good funds like Vanguard’s S&P Index Fund (VFINX) and Vanguard’s Long-Term Bond ETF (BLV).

For those familiar with selecting and holding individual stocks, there is nothing like it Dividend growth stocks in order to achieve a growing income in the future. The dividend stocks that can be found in the portfolios of many dividend investors include companies like: McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and The Coca Cola company (KO).

Finally, you can choose not to prepare. In June 2008 I wrote about a Married couple of retirement age who would never retire because they chose a life on the margins and always spent a little more than they deserved. Over the years, the noose around Bill and Jackie (not their real names) has tightened. Bill died and Jackie now depends on the family for basic needs.

Life is a choice. You can choose how to live, but you cannot choose the consequences of your life.

Full disclosure: Long JNJ, KO, MCD.

On the subject of matching items
– Never fall in love with a share
– My 4 largest dividend growth equity positions have double digit returns for life
– 10 great dividend stocks with over 50 years of consecutive increases
– International diversification can be closer than you think
– Characteristics of stocks with great dividend growth

Tags: JNJ, KO, MCD,

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