Nobody wants to think about retirement when they’re young, which is unfortunate; your working years are the best time to plan for the day when you don’t have to work anymore. A worry-free retirement is the result of discipline and planning, and it’s not something taught to young people just starting out in life. Most corporations have retirement plans, and encourage new hires to participate; most new hires do sign up for the 401(k) or 403(b) plans, but it’s mostly done by default. In today’s climate, most of those new hires won’t stay at the corporation long enough to be vested, let alone long enough to retire from it. Here are 5 strategies to save for a happy retirement:
Open a savings account
It’s not tax-deferred, but a savings account is the first step towards investing for your future. A nest egg makes sense on many fronts – it gives you money to handle unexpected expenses, it gives you money to invest without impacting your budget, it gives you money for having fun without worries. Having a solid savings account makes good money sense.
Live within your means with a budget
One of the hardest lessons a young person learns is how to handle money. Very few parents or schools teach their children about analyzing their income and setting up a budget. Budgets allow you to prioritize how your money is spent. One of the highest priorities in your budget is your savings account – pay yourself first, and then pay your bills.
Open a personal IRA
Don’t depend on your employer’s pension plan – open a personal IRA and save money tax-deferred. IRAs have many rules and regulations, but they are a good way to save money for retirement.
It’s best to work with a financial planner when you want to build an investment portfolio. The stock market is a complicated beast and it’s smart to have someone who spends their days working with it on your side. Build a diverse portfolio, and manage the risk as you age; riskier investments are good when you have time to recover from losses. As you age, choose investments with more stable returns.
Most of us have a career; we trained for it, and we work hard to stay current and develop our skills. However, this should not be the only source of income we have. Multiple streams of income help protect us when unexpected things happen. So, diversify – become a landlord and rent properties. Set the rent high enough to cover expenses – including income for you – and let your tenants help you save for retirement. Open a convenience store, or buy a restaurant and let someone else manage it. Find creative ways to earn money.
These five suggestions are by no means the only ways to save for retirement, but they will get you started. The most important thing is to start while you’re young – it’s a lot easier to retire with a well-funded bank account if you’ve been working on it for forty years. It’s never too late to start, but having time on your side is a great advantage. So get started and plan on no financial worries in your golden years.