7. October 2009 01:17
Perhaps you crave an early retirement (let’s say, by age 55) so you can travel, play golf or write the great novel. Or maybe you want to switch gears at some point and pursue a new career direction without worrying about money. Either way, there are common-sense steps to reaching your financial goals. Here are a few sound money strategies you can start using to get out of the “daily grind” and into your retirement “fun zone”!
* Start saving early, frequently and as many ways as you can! Use automatic payroll deductions and take full advantage of tax-advantaged 401(k) s and Roth IRA accounts. Here is a prime example of building a solid nest egg: Let’s say you start saving $500 a month at age 40 with annualized earnings of 8%. By age 65, you would have saved about $475,000. If you had started at age 30, you’d have that amount by age 55. If you leave it intact in your savings account for another 10 years, it would grow to over $1,054,000 without adding another cent to it! Based on your lifestyle, you might want to estimate that you need 70% to 100% of your present yearly income to cover expenses during retirement.
* Practice reality-based investing. The best solution is to hire a qualified financial planner and work together to structure a diversified portfolio. Look at the whole gamut of asset classes, with special attention paid to your risk tolerance and time-line. Conduct a yearly review to re-balance your portfolio to bring it back to consistent earnings.
* Don’t reach into your retirement savings until retirement. Here’s where many people backslide: They begin to eye the money for new houses, cars or fancy vacations. Retirement seems far off in the dim future so lots of rationalizations can be created for dipping into the money now. Remember, you may be less flexible to build-up the same amount of money later in life. If you absolutely NEED to tap into your retirement funds, do so as a last resort and replace them as quickly as possible. Make savings a habit, wise spending a discipline, and you’ll be on your way to an early (and comfortable) retirement.
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