Adelina Domingues passed away over the weekend. Unless you're a human-facts-and-feats buff, the name probably doesn't ring a bell. The Guinness Book of World Records certified Adelina as the country's oldest living person. The former seamstress was 114 years old when she died in her sleep at a San Diego, Calif., nursing home on Saturday.
Most of us will be hard-pressed to make it past the century mark, but even if we don't, will our savings be there to outlive us? See, many of us fail to take retirement planning seriously. Whether you're living paycheck to paycheck or you're simply a procrastinator, it's as easy as it is costly to put off the future. The fact that Adelina lived 50 years beyond the typical retirement age may be an extreme example of life after retirement, but it's something that can't be ignored.
We have yet to hear about Adelina's personal finances, but you never know.... Oseola McCarty seemed like an ordinary washerwoman of meager means until she donated $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi. Her thrifty years of living below her means paid off handsomely, when she used her earnings to save and eventually invest in the stock market.
Compounding is a beautiful thing, if you're not on the borrowing end of the math. Just as importantly, the differences based on return rates widen with every passing year. If Adelina had earned a 3% annualized return on a $1,000 investment when she was just 24 years old, it would be worth $14,829 right now. But if that rate of return were to double to 6%, that amount would've grown to an impressive sum of $218,447. The stock market has an even kinder historical rate of return. A realistic 10% annualized return on that $1,000 investment 90 years ago would be worth a whopping $7.8 million now.
Granted, taxes and inflation eat away at those ultimate totals, but that makes for an even stronger argument to save and invest early and often. Youth doesn't last forever. For some, like Adelina, retirement might seem like a never-ending story. Take your budgets seriously. You may not have the luxury to live through three different centuries, but you never know what the future has in store for you.