Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Do you know the sad reality about the state of the nation's pensions (search) today? They're promises, that's all. Promises that are easily broken and more often easily re-jiggered.

What’s the moral of the story? Control your own fate. Invest your own money/ Take charge of your own life.

You may trust your company with your life. I'm saying just be careful trusting it with your money.

Here's why: Companies go belly-up. No, not all of them, but enough of them to give you pause. Because when a company hits the skids, company bosses hit the books and desperately look for items to skim off those books. Items like pensions and their contributions to them.

It's among the first areas the green eyeshade guys close the shade on. After all, pension needs aren't "present" needs. They're future needs. And the company figures it needs the money now, not later. So later things go away. The company's focused on just surviving today.

What’s the moral of the story? Like your company, but don't bet on your company. And don't put all your financial eggs in the company basket. Get some other baskets and some other eggs.

I know it's tough, but you know what's tougher? Being left high and dry when the company basket is empty and the eggs are smashed. It happened at Enron. Don't let it happen to you.

Invest any way you can, wherever you can and with whatever dough you can — clearly and consistently. Don't assume the government will be there for you.

There's an agency that protects some of your pension, but it doesn't protect all of your pension. And besides, it's hurting. You should be hunting… like now.

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