Walter Updegrave, Money Magazine senior editor, and author of the “Ask the Expert” column on CNN Money, received a question from a young reader about the best way to save for a planned trip around the world in 2009, even if it means having to forgo retirement savings.
What was Walter’s response? Great idea! Skip saving for retirement and travel while you are young and you can. The young man is single and has no outstanding debt, so that is not applicable. I agree with Walter’s advice.
Many financial planners might have tried to talk the young man out of his travel plans, or tried to get him to invest some of his money in retirement funds while investing for his trip around the world. Walter gave the prospective traveler some good advice on short term investments involving minimal risk, and also informed him of a way to put money into a Roth IRA to serve as an emergency reserve and face no penalties for withdrawal as long as he only withdrew from the contribution and did not withdraw from the earnings.
As a financial writer, Walter Updegrave writes about all kinds of financial dilemmas. Usually people ask investment advice for retirement, where to stash extra cash, how to handle large debt loads and other similar issues.
This is a refreshing personal finance article because it reminds us we need to live our lives. Too many people focus on saving and investing money instead of using money for living. Yes, you should save and invest. But there is so much out there to see and do.
May British students take a “gap year” between their secondary school courses and going to university. During their gap year, students often travel, volunteer, or work part time to gain experiences that will help them outside of the classroom and in the real world. Gap years are becoming more popular in other countries as well including Australia and the US.
I was very fortunate to have traveled to many wonderful locations during my military service and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. I am a better person for having experienced other cultures and I wish everyone could have the same opportunity.
The young man who posted the question seems to be determined and focused on his goals, so I am sure he will have no trouble applying himself toward meeting his retirement goals when he returns from his amazing journey. I hope he has the experience of a lifetime!