Fewer than half of Americans have gone to the effort of calculating how much they’ll need for retirement, which means they probably haven’t started saving to meet any financial goals. Saving for retirement can be daunting, but with just a couple of simple steps you can start saving now and be prepared for retirement in the future
Know what is offered to you already
Many companies in the United States and elsewhere offer pension plans and other saving opportunities that are available for you to use. Ask your HR rep about your pension plan and learn how it applies to you, when it kicks in, what it’s worth and what will happen if you change employment. If your company offers you a retirement savings plan like a 401(k) sign up and contribute as much as you can. This offers an abundance of benefits, namely a significant reduction on taxes you pay, compounded interest, and your company might even add more to your plan the more you add to it. Figure out how much you’ll be receiving in social security when the time comes, and what other benefits will be offered to you by the government. Use these to create a base income that you can build on with other means.
Once you know how much base income you’ll have during your retirement, it’s time to set some goals to see how much more you’ll need and how you’ll get it. Determine what expenses you’ll still have and for how long during your retirement; expenses like home mortgage, auto loans, student loans from your children, and other charges will change how much you need and when during your retirement. Once you’ve figured out your expenses, check those against the retirement plans from your company and the benefits you’ll be receiving from the government and determine how much additional income you’ll need to maintain the type of life you’ll enjoy. Don’t be discouraged when your expenses heavily outweigh the numbers from your pension plan, 401(k) and Social Security, we’ll take care of that next.
Once you’ve figured out your sources of income already available to you, it’s time to figure out other revenue streams to keep your retirement boat afloat. It’s important that you don’t keep all your eggs in one basket when you retire, we’ve learned lessons many times about relying too heavily on Social Security and pension plans that get cut or go bankrupt, so put some thought into this. You’ll want to manage your own investments, which doesn’t have to be too time consuming and can start off small. Look into traditional stock investments, real estate, and startup businesses that might need some upfront costs paid for in return for dividends. It’s important to do your homework before investing and make wise choices. As you near retirement, begin to shift more and more of your paychecks into investment opportunities instead of on things like a new car or TV. If you want to save more money, I recommend you this article: how to reduce my car insurance?.
As you consider what revenue streams you’ll focus on creating for yourself in your golden years, take time now to educate yourself on various forms of investing and money management. Many people choose to start their own businesses, which might just mean they own rental property for income. Regardless of what you choose to do, educate yourself thoroughly, ask for advice from people already invested, and get the tools you need. You’ll want to start using something like Scottrade or ETrade to manage stock market investments and you’ll need legal accounting software to manage any business you may start.
Most importantly, you should consider what retirement really means to you. Do you plan on moving to Florida and lounging on the beach all day, or spending all your time in an RV or on a cruise? Many people now are choosing to stay semi-employed during retirement. It’s a great chance to finally change your occupation to something you truly enjoy and get meaning from, like creating a business around a hobby or working for a charity. Studies show staying active in retirement not only increases life expectancy, but also increases the quality of life people live. Unless you absolutely can’t be swayed from sitting on a recliner for the last 30 years of your life, think now what you’d like to spend your time doing and plan accordingly.