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Saving for retirement, no matter what

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Pamela A., 59
Midvale, Utah
Not retired
Divorced, one child
"The goal was, 'What can I do to earn?' Now it's, 'What can I do to not lose?"

Pamela's Tips

  • If you're single, be aware of your own investing style and counter risk with caution.
  • Start cutting spending before retirement, and see what you can do without.
  • Keep making contributions to your IRA, and stick to it even when it isn't easy.


  • Divorced and self-employed, Pamela works hard to temper her natural risk-taking tendencies.
  • Pamela has cut back on spending, and is saving money.

Pamela is weighing options on when or if to retire, while being more conservative in spending and investing.

"I'm a psychologist in private practice; I had been thinking I would retire at age 62, but with the economy, it could be three more years. Even then, I'm not looking to stop altogether because I love what I do. I have a SEP-IRA, and a retirement account from when I was a teacher. Since becoming self-employed, I've put the maximum amount each year in my SEP-IRA. Even in years when it was rough, I found a way. I stick to that no matter what."

A new perspective on money informs her spending decisions—and helps her save.

"I'm trying to balance my tendency to take risks with being more conservative. Before the downturn, the goal was, "What can I do to earn?" Now it's, "What can I do to not lose?" I have cut back on my spending. I only shop sales now. And if I don't like what I buy I return it; I couldn't be bothered before. I've been able to save quite a bit."

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