I wish I had enough time and space here to write fully about retirement. Today, more and more people are thinking about what they have saved and invested or not saved for the years ahead.
Without a doubt, saving for retirement is one of the most important financial goals we will set. No matter what level you are at financially, there are always challenges to finding the right amount of money needed to retire. Having the right insight and adviser makes a huge difference, especially when it comes to staying the course.
So, when is the best time to begin saving for retirement? Twenty years ago! The Chinese adage is right: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. This is also very true when it comes to saving for retirement. But the next best time is today!
Seriously, if you are working and earning an income, you should be minimally making a $6,000 ($7,000 if over 50) retirement savings contribution annually. But the secret to true financial security and peace of mind is not just having more money in the bank. It’s in knowing how to control what you already have.
Even people, who have done an excellent job of investing and accumulating assets are not immune to unexpected expenses later in life.
This is why it’s so important to maintain the “right focus” about money and wealth or you will end up feeling nervous and not enjoying the process of saving and investing for the future.
Striving to get to a financial destination like retirement can be draining, especially in our super-charged financial world. I tell clients while financial security is a goal, it should never be the only one.
Never allow your desire for a huge retirement package to overshadow the very things that contain the greatest wealth in this life: family, friends, contributions to others, and life experiences. Have a retirement goal in your mind and on paper but don’t allow it to capture your heart!
For some, financial security means having a large amount of money invested with great returns. Others may simply envision a comfortable lifestyle without all the trappings of extra homes, boats, and planes. You need to relax and trust your investments.
My younger clients are often the most troubled. They settle on a number for retirement only to come back later expressing feelings of fear because they are afraid that they will need more! There’s no ceiling!
Personally, I don’t believe retirement is a true option. We need to stay viable, active, and looking for ways to contribute to others and our communities. Franklin Roosevelt pretty much summed it up with these words: “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Actually, many of my “retired” clients have found themselves back in the workforce, but this time they are doing something that gives back to others. They are dedicated individuals, who have experienced a great deal and have learned to practice the art of gratitude and thankfulness.
How about you? When you hear the word “retirement” do you catch yourself smiling with joy because life continues with new challenges, places to go, and moments spent with loved ones? Or do you battle feelings of restlessness and even fear.
Without a trusted adviser, you can easily set unrealistic financial goals and expectations for your life. For example, the person, who retires believing two million in securities will meet his or her needs, often shifts and wants this amount to be greater.
Money becomes a goal to be chased, and this is where the breakdown in joy takes place! You have worked a lifetime so don’t let that happen to you.
Emphasis on one area of life over another will land you in a “wobble.” No one has time for that. Find your balance, discover the secret to happiness, and enjoy what you do each day.
Statistically, I do want to say that women need to take a good look at the future. It’s no secret that as women, we end up living longer than men—and according to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, A Profile of Older Americans (2018), almost half of the women who are 75 and older live alone. This means there is a greater need for women to have financial security for a longer time.
But only 46 percent participate in a retirement plan! (U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Women and Retirement Savings (2017). Another difficult reality is that after all these years, women still earn about 20 percent less than men, which means less Social Security benefits.
It’s a wake-up call—to women especially to invest and/or put money into a 401(k) plan as soon as you begin to work. Contributions to a traditional 401(k) are tax deductible, which lowers your taxable income. And the longer you wait to contribute to a 401(k), the more money you leave on the table.
It’s a no brainer! Most companies have a matching retirement plan in place. They match half up to six percent. So, at least, set a goal to contribute six percent in order to gain an additional three percent!
I like to see my clients contribute at least 10 to 15 percent annually. Most 401(k) contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck. So, over time, you won’t miss what you do not have now but you will be grateful later that you saved!
Later, you will pay income taxes on withdrawals but the interest and the investment you make along the way is yours! Also, ask if your company has an option for you to add a Roth 401(k) to your retirement portfolio. There’s no upfront tax deduction, and withdrawals at retirement are tax-free. If it’s available, a Roth is a good choice for a person, who is likely be in a higher tax bracket come retirement.
With some real numbers in front of you, it will be easy to figure out what percentage of your salary needs to be directed toward a 401(k). If you are young, you can start small and increase the amount over time—preferably up to a minimum of 10 to 15 percent of your salary.
The reason so many people face financial difficulty in their later years is because they fail to invest. Despite the seemingly simple ways to avoid problems, it’s a lot easier to tell someone what they need to do than it is for someone actually to do it.
Over the years, financial advice has not changed that much. Many times, I actually ask my clients to step away from the 24/7 media frenzy surrounding the stock market.
Instead, we develop a plan and stick with it. Avoiding the nightly financial news along with other potential sources of distraction leaves your emotions intact and opens the door for you to do the things you enjoy most.
Maybe you feel like you already have missed far too much to catch up? It’s never too late! You can start right where you are today with a free 411 Reset Strategy Meeting.