BUZ LIVINGSTON: Is your retirement wasting away again?

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 04:32 PM.

It’s not too farfetched imagining Jimmy Buffett playing the 30A Songwriters Festival, especially with news that a Margaritaville may be coming to Destin in the near future. In the aftermath of Jim Croce’s death, record executives scoured their artists looking for a storyteller/troubadour similar to Croce; Buffett took the ball and ran, maybe ambled is more Buffettesque. In 1974, Buffett played UGA’s Memorial Ballroom just off the Reed Quadrangle with no Coral Reefers in tow.

Our Festival attracts talented artists on a similar career path.

In December of ‘74, he released A1A with the cool, “Life is Just a Tire Swing” that I bet he plays in Pensacola next week …”never been west of New Orleans or east of Pensacola.” The song also pays homage to a singular crazy uncle and aunt along with a malodorous creosote plant reference.  Our granddaughter lives in Houston but far enough away from industrial funk. She also has a collage of crazy uncles and aunts; most are innocuous while the criminally insane have lost their South Walton privileges. 

Being the first of her generation, our Suzanna attracts a crowd; her comely looks and pleasant personality don’t hurt either. During her visit, another public shooting occurred this time in Suzanna’s hometown. An aunt mentioned recently purchasing a firearm and being surprised when “it made a lot of noise.”

“It’s a gun,” I thought. “What did you think?” Since she had never owned a firearm before, she described her trip to the Decatur County, Ga., hinterlands to acquaint herself with said weapon.  Her gang hung the target on the fence with care; after multiple shots, it was unscathed but not the fence. Bob Marley shot the sheriff but this sharpshooter nailed the wire. Adding to the frivolity it was an electric fence; hopefully the livestock didn’t escape. There goes Honey Boo Boo.

Buy all the guns you want, but fund your retirement first.  You might be a redneck if your retirement contribution went to the gun store. At least they will be set for retirement while you depend on Social Security. You have an infinitesimally small chance of needing a gun while running out of money during retirement is a clear, present and lethal danger. Gun violence is an American tragedy we need to address and we should stop blowing up our retirement.

If your employer’s retirement plan offers a match, it is imperative to contribute. It is the equivalent of finding money. In 2013, elective deferral limits increased to $17,500 plus for $5,000 for those over 50. If your employer doesn’t offer a match, you may be eligible for a Roth contribution (2013 limit phase-out, $178,000-$188,000 joint/$112,000-127,000 single). Deductible contributions to Traditional IRAs have no income limits if you do not participate in an employer’s plan. If covered by a plan, income limits range from $95,000-$115,000 joint/$59,000-$69,000 single.  2013 IRA contribution limits remain the same, $5,000 plus an extra $1,000 for those of us over 50.



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