In today’s uncertain economic environment, many people are worried about their future. When people are scared for their jobs they tend to scorn investing. But the economic crisis is the main reason I think people should be investing for their future. If not your investments, what will help you keep up with inflation and pay you through retirement?
It is becoming more evident that citizens can not count on governments to subsidize retirement. At least not in a way that will allow you to live a lifestyle you would want. Who, after working for 45 – 50 years, wants to go back to living week to week? I don’t, and you shouldn’t have to.
It is a common myth that investing requires a large amount of capital initially, don’t believe this. With some careful retirement planning anyone, regardless of income or expenses, can beat inflation and begin saving for comfort in their golden years.
You can read the whole article to see all of the options available to you, or you can skip to the section that deals directly with your stage in life.
If you are 20 – 30: Start right away. Capitalize on your greatest asset – time. Choose safe, long-term investments that lock up your principal. This will make sure that you don’t “temporarily” withdrawal funds to finance a weekend in Vegas. Options you may want to explore are IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) which provide valuable tax break incentives as well as compounding interest on your investment or if you’d prefer to have temptation removed you could opt for a 401k. A 401k is a savings plan that automatically takes deductions from your paycheck and can allow for the generation of a healthy nest egg later in life.
If you are 30 – 40: Those of you in this group are probably becoming more financially stable. It is time for you to re-assess your savings. If you have already been contributing to a 401k, consider increasing your payments. You will see surprising results with an increase as small as 1%. By increasing payments slowly, you won’t even miss the money. IRAs are a good idea, in your 30s too, since there is a lot of time before retirement to allow funds to grow. You should also be looking to the stock market. Now is the time to be bold with your money. Even if the market turns on you, you’ll have time to rebuild yourself.
If you are 40 – 50: Before you panic, remember that you still have about 20 years to prepare your retirement fund. If retirement saving hasn’t been a priority for you, you’re going to want to hit your contribution limits on any 401k or IRAs you do have. Also don’t rely solely on employer based plans; open up at least one private plan for yourself. Your 40s are a good time to resort your assets. Take an overview of your entire portfolio. If you have been investing, scale back your stock options to 80% of your assets, and reinvest that money into saver options like bonds. Finally, if you have been supporting an adult child, it may be time to cut the apron strings.
If you are 50 – 60: You’re finally close enough to see the end-zone, but now you’re worried you haven’t done enough retirement planning. You will have to be honest with yourself. Decide what your goals for retirement are and find out how much money you will need to meet those goals. Once you are armed with this, collect all your records: assets, expenses, debt, goals and contact a financial expert. You are going to need assistance to, and they can help you. Utilize any government grants or other opportunities that might be available to you. Depending on where you live, you may be entitled to contribute a higher percentage of your salary than previously. If your situation isn’t as rosy as you’d like you may need to look into delaying retirement or taking a part-time job after leaving your current position.