It is never too early nor is it ever too late to start planning for retirement. It ultimately depends on your way of life, where are you living, and whether you need to let go of anything. A successful retirement strategy is to have enough pay to cover your expenses with a little cash going into a savings account for sudden financial needs.
With regards to retirement, we all have an alternate vision in mind. In fact, some think about traveling throughout the world, while some think of a peaceful life with their grandchildren. Whether we get ready for it or not, we will one day turn to retirement age and so, we should be prepared for it. I’m going to tell you how in this article.
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Benefits of early ventures for retirement
The way this works is you figure out where you need to live, the amount it will cost you to live there (rent/food/transportation), and the various expenses you will need to account for, like travel/insurance/medical bills and taxes. Many people are struggling to put aside money for their future savings and some haven’t started yet. Think you can put off thinking about retirement? The reality is that you need to start thinking about it right now, and putting aside some money from today.
There are a lot of benefits of taking early steps towards retirement. Utilize the power of compounding, low investment for targeted corpus and you can create more corpus investing the same money:
- If someone saves $100 every month and starts investing for 30 years at 10% return, initially you will see that within 5-10 years, your investments will not multiply. However, after that period, the corpus will increase immensely with the impact of compounding. The investment period expands the extent of profits increments in the corpus.
- Suppose there are two people, one aged 30, and the other 40. Both need to resign at 60 with the same retirement objectives of $300,000 USD each. Both will put resources into an investment with 10% of the return. Thus, to accomplish their retirement objective, the younger one needs to save $100 USD / month and the older one needs to collect $300 USD / month. Since the older one has started investing ten years later than the younger one, he will pay more than double what the younger one will pay.
- If someone saves $100 USD every month and starts investing at 30 years old till 60 and gets 10% annual return, his corpus becomes around $170,000. Otherwise, if he starts the same amount spending at 40 years of age with the same 10% return, he will have around $57,000 USD. He can profit by just investing ten years early.
You can’t invest too much money in retirement during the early stage of your career since you may have different objectives. However, you can increase the investment gradually if you start investing just a small amount.
Average retirement age
For many people who are nearing retirement age or recently resigned, one of their most significant financial regrets is that they did not focus on saving for their golden years. As per the Consumer Reports study, it demonstrates that only 28% of investors with the age of 55 years or older are pleased with the way they have saved for retirement.
As per the report, The Economic Policy Institute breaks down how much Americans have put away. Since you know that when the majority of people retire, you can subtract your age from that more significant number and check down what number of more years you need to work.
But many retirees go back to work. Some of them do part time job while others do seek for a second career. Some even come back to full-time work and then retire again in a couple of years. So deciding their retirement age could be tricky.
Average retirement savings
To get retirement started, saving is pretty easy, though it can seem complicated. These simple five steps will make you go on retirement now. So, you don’t need to stress over having the same regrets as today’s retirees.
1. Invest 15% for your retirement
Your initial step is to save 15% of your income. This will depend on your gross income and does not include any coordinating assets you get through your employer’s retirement plan.
It’s sufficient to enable you to achieve your retirement investment funds objectives, but not too much to keep you from enjoying your income today.
2. Utilize tax-advantaged retirement plan
Yes, we utilized the T-word; however, don’t daydream! Split your 15% retirement contributing budget between charge conceded retirement plans like your 401(k) or after-tax plans like a Roth IRA.
3. Invest your money around
To put it all in one place is the most significant risk that you can take with your retirement money. With mutual funds, however, you can invest in the biggest and most recognizable brands as well as that new organizations you’ve never known about but has a lot of growth potential.
Opt a growth-stock mutual fund with background marked by solid returns for both your 401(k) and Roth IRA speculations.
4. Stay with it
Since mutual fund investing is less risky than investing in single stocks, it is not risk-free. You can see your savings grow in the long term as long as you can leave your money where it is and keep adding to it.
5. Work with an investing professional
It is essential to look for an investment professional, as you must have a lot of queries concerning your retirement plan during 30 or more years of investing,
Never make due with an investment professional who recommends or patronizes you to turn over all your investment choices to them. Since this is your retirement, nobody will think or care about it more than you do!
You might analyze or compare your savings against the average retirement savings for your age group to check whether you’re falling behind or getting towards of the curve. On the other hand, it might be conceivable to hang up the work boots and hit the shoreline with fewer savings if you live easily or below your means.
How to achieve your financial goals?
An ideal approach to achieve your financial goals is to stay focused on what you need for your future, ignore everything (and everyone) else that may divert you. There’s a significant business culture out there that requires you to stay in debt, live for the occasion and stress over your future later on.
You need to start planning for your future from now, not when you have more time or money to invest. You can even talk to a financial advisor for any help. Cooperate to set your money goals and make an action plan to reach them. You can retire younger than you thought you could if you create a project and follow up on it.
Start planning for your retirement
A lot has changed in the last 30 years; our previous generation had an career goal and they would join either a large private company or a government organization immediately after school or college. Then they would spend the next 38 years in the same organization and the form of provident fund and gratuity. They would retire with a decent corpus and they would later spend the remaining time with their pension benefits. It’s a bit different now, but with the above information, you’ll be well prepared.
Whether you can afford to retire now or not, you need not bother with a retirement calculator to get a rough estimate. You should have the capacity to closely approximate your daily spending habits to figure out how much money goes out the door every year.
Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?
In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.
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4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals
Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.
1. Be Clear About the Objectives
Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.
It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.
Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.
2. Keep Goals Realistic
It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.
It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.
3. Account for Inflation
Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.
Therefore, account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.
For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.
4. Short Term Vs Long Term
As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.
By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.
How to Achieve Your Financial Goals
Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:
- Ensuring healthy savings
- Making smart investments
You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.
Ensuring Healthy Savings
Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.
This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.
1. Track Expenses
The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.
Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.
If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.
2. Pay Yourself First
Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!
Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.
The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.
Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.
3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It
Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized
Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.
At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.
Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.
You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.
4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal
In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.
Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:
- Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
- If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
- If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.
The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.
5. Talk About It
Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.
Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.
6. Maintain a Journal
For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.
If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.
When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.
Making Smart Investments
Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.
1. Consult a Financial Advisor
Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.
Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.
2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely
Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.
Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.
As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.
3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder
Einstein once remarked about compounding:
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”
Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.
Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.
4. Measure, Measure, Measure
All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.
If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.
Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!
The Bottom Line
Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals
and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.