“A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush”

Bird in hand Born and raised in Taiwan until I was 17 years old, I've always been fascinated by American idioms like the one in the title, idioms that we take for granted until something like the mortgage crisis and rapidly dwindling stock market puts it all back into perspective for us.

The current financial crisis has touched all of our lives, but perhaps nobody has been hit quite so hard as retirees and workers who are nearing retirement age.  These are the people who have been saving for years for retirement, only to watch it all dwindle away as the market falls, with no end in sight. It wouldn’t be quite so painful if they had years to recover, to wait for the markets to rebound; but they don’t.  These are the people who are only a year or two away from retirement, or in some cases already retired and making withdrawals from their savings plans.

Many in this situation will have to put off retirement, working 2-5 years more with the hope that their investments will recover in time. But a luckier few will be able to weather the storm, and perhaps learn from it. Emily Brandon’s article, How to Retire During a Financial Crisis, addresses this issue, and gives readers some suggestions on how to prepare for a market downturn, making it possible to come out on top even if you are close to retirement (or already retired) when tragedy strikes.