When I was 17 and organising my accounts for heading off to university my bank asked me whether I'd like to start saving for my retirement.
Really?! I scoffed. Why, when I'm worrying about how I'll afford to feed, clothe and house myself for the next few years, and when I'm worrying about how long it will take me to pay off the debt I accrue in that time, would I worry about funding something that's almost 50 years away?
But perhaps it wasn't such a ridiculous suggestion.
We opened something of a can of worms this week on Breakfast in an interview in which our guest suggested people need to be saving 18% of their gross income every year from their early twenties if they want to live on 60% of their annual working-life income in retirement.
Russell Investments' logic in their calculations to arrive at their 'magic number' appears sound, but it doesn't make the resulting figure seem any less absurd.
The feedback flooded in and was entirely consistent with my completely unscientific survey of my colleagues before the interview - essentially, "I can't afford that!"
However, it's not entirely out of left field. Until recently www.sorted.org.nz touted 70% of your working-age income as the ideal retirement income. That would require a greater saving rate than even 18%.
It's now ditched that recommendation and the calculators now ask what you want to live on weekly/monthly/annually in retirement. You can guess, but how do you know what you'll need?
The Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan on Breakfast this morning told me she believes there is no magic number that works for everyone.
However a new survey that she helped launch this week aims to establish a set of benchmarks of what you might need depending on factors like the lifestyle you're after and where you will live.
The 18% 'magic number' scared some people. Heck, it scared me! But for that I make no apologies because if nothing else, it sparked debate and it's a debate I fervently believe we need to have.
As difficult as it may be to save, some facts are inescapable.
Our population is aging, we're living longer and that will inevitably result in it becoming unaffordable for the government to provide a universal, liveable superannuation for more people to draw on for longer periods.
That means retirement must become something we plan and save for ourselves.
As boring and distant a prospect as it may seem to a newbie to
the workforce - the sooner you start, the easier it will be.
A concept perhaps my 17-year old self would have been wise to