To answer this question, let’s look at where people typically have money when they retire.
Briefly : Where Shouldn’t I Put My Money
There are lots of bad ways to invest your money. We won’t go into that in detail here, but I will provide you with a short list that has hurt a lot of people. The worst culprits are companies that sale life insurance and annuities; don’t buy these. Life insurance is not medical insurance. The next worst investments are savings accounts with banks, bank brokerages, middle class brokerages (like Primerica), and small cap stocks.
Most people, when they retire, have most of their net worth tied up in their own home. So, the first, and most important way to invest your money is to buy your own home. If you already have a home, buy a rental property. It is realistic that most people can own several houses free and clear through a lifetime of disciplined effort.
When people retire, their next most important source of money is either a 401k, 403b, IRAs, and even annuities (which aren’t that great). The bottom line is to put at least 10% of your gross salary into a 401k, 403b, or IRA. Look at the taxes because it is not always in your best interest to max out the 401k. Sometimes it is better to have a combination of IRA and 401k.
Get some good health insurance. Better yet, stay healthy. Health care costs are ridiculously high. Most people spend an enormous chunk of their savings, in retirement, on health care. An operation can set you back a hundred thousand dollars, or more. Many people who are pretty well off become destitute from medical problems. In some cases, Medicare will force you to sell your home and give them the money or you can’t receive treatment.
My grandma was a first grade teacher her entire life. In retirement, she broke her hip. The medical costs were around 100k. The insurance didn’t cover many of the costs. She was denied treatment because the insurance (Medicaid) said her recovery time was taking too long. The moral of the story is to have some supplementary insurance.
Open an account with a discount brokerage firm (like www.vanguard.com). They have brokers that will help you with financial products. Some of these discount brokerages are available 24 hours a day. They do not give recommendations, but can explain the products quite well. The fees there will be much less than full service brokers. It is here you will get access to retirement calculators, investment research, IRAs, mutual funds, and lot of other things. If you are new to investing, you can learn a lot just by reading the articles on one of these sites.
Rule #5 : 90% Rule
If you own your own home and put 10% of your gross income into your retirement account we have found that 90% of people will have enough money to make ends meet. The biggest unknown factor, in this case, are medical bills. Medical problems leave more people destitute than any other.