Working toward retirement?

Two people on different sides of the 401(k) portfolio spectrum tell how recent events on Wall Street are affecting their decisions.

•  Jennifer Marsh, 38, District 51 administrator

Jennifer Marsh and her husband, Shawn, co-owner of Marsh Trucking, both Grand Valley natives, may be a ways from retirement, but they’re watching their investments closely with a financial adviser.
Monday’s news gave her food for thought.

Right now the priority is starting off their two children, who are now first- and seventh-graders, with some savings for college. But eventually, the stash for her and her husband will be increasingly important.

“I want to believe that in the next 20 years before I retire, the market has definitely corrected and rebounded,” said Marsh, 38. “While I believe the market will come back, it still worries me that my husband’s business will be able to continue operating and that he’ll have the money to buy new trucks that the small business needs to keep it going.”

“We have less than six years before my daughter graduates,” Marsh said.

Until recently, she put $25 or $50 into a mutual fund each month, and at times increased the amount to $100. She plans to boost it to $200 a month when her daughter gets closer to college age.

“When I first started teaching, one of the things I asked people was, ‘What are you doing for your kiddos when they go to college?’ ” she said. “With how hard it is to get financial aid for kids in that middle class (and) to qualify for money, it’s really important to have a stash so that they can go. We’re a little better off than our parents were, and we were lucky to qualify for loans when we went. Unfortunately, our children will qualify for nothing. We’re not into paying their whole way. We have an expectation they’re going to college. To fill that expectation, we’re going to try to make sure there’s a little something to help them go.”

•  LeRoy Arguello, 61, co-owner of 5 Star CDL Professional Training Inc.

If LeRoy Arguello’s only gig was his City Market job, which he retired from in 1996, he might be pulling his money out of the stock market.

But he’s looking at leaving it there because “it costs money to take it out. If you take it out, it will never gain again.”

“We have that money and our business, which is going to be the rest of our retirement. We have rentals. But we’ve been working our lives away.”

Arguello and his wife, Patsy, 59, started 5 Star CDL Professional Training Inc., a truck driving school that has become reputable enough that truck companies are calling regularly, looking to hire his graduates.

“If you’ve planned a life, sometimes it’s best if you don’t really need the money, to leave it in and hope and pray it comes back up, because it’s happened in the past. It’s frustrating we have to bail out people with our tax money. But it has happened before that the government has had to help the economy.”

“I’m sure a lot of people have a 401(k) and they don’t need it to live on, but if they do lose their jobs, that may be a reason why they’d have to take it out,” he said. “There is a price to pay when you do that.”

Arguello said he’s always followed a rule of thumb to diversify his stocks by putting 50 percent in one place and splitting the other 50 percent into two other places. He said he talks with financial advisers quarterly.


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