Nearly one in five people spend more time planning for a vacation than they do retirement. (Even though retirement is arguably the longest vacation you’ll take in your life.) What’s stopping people from planning for retirement? Many just don’t know where to begin. Others may have begun, but they’re unsure if they’re making any real progress. So here’s some guidance; some real financial advice from some of the top Carolina financial advisors. Step by step, here’s what you should be doing now to help ensure you can retire comfortably later on.
What To Do In Your 20s
Build an Emergency Fund
Financial surprises are inevitable. But you can be better prepared for the unexpected by building an emergency fund. Generally speaking, the younger you are, the less money you need in your emergency fund because you have fewer financial obligations.
While you’re in your 20s, aim for saving three to six months of expenses. Keep this money in a savings account so you have access to it when needed. Hopefully you can add to it in your 30s, 40s and 50s.
Pay Off Debt
High-interest debt can lock you into the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and prevent you from building wealth. No matter how much you save, you’ll always be losing financial ground to high interest rates.
Debt of any kind costs money, so you’re usually better off without it (even if the interest is low). Once you’ve destroyed your high-interest debt, go the extra mile by paying off your low-interest debt. This can help free up extra funds that you can then use toward other financial goals.
If you have any debt accruing 10 percent interest or more, look for ways to destroy it. There are several ways to pay off debt, including the snowball and avalanche methods. Talk with a financial advisor and find one that works for you.
What To Do In Your 30s
Max Out Retirement Savings
The maximum contribution for a 401(k) in 2019 is $19,000. If you can’t contribute this much, try to at least contribute up to your employer’s match. You may think retirement contributions aren’t a priority in your 30s, but think again. Your money needs decades to grow for compound interest to work its magic. Waiting even 10 years could lose you hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement.
If possible, max out your retirement savings every year.
Invest in Other Ways
There are many other ways to invest. Create college funds for your children, open taxable investment accounts, start a Roth IRA.
Talking with a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor early on can help put you on the right track to financial freedom. Many people lose money by making costly mistakes. Let a professional worry about the market, determine the right amount of risk for you and take on the burden of preparing for your future.
What To Do In Your 40s
Think About What You Want to Do in Retirement
Retirement is arguably the first time in your life where you won’t have any work obligations. What do you want to do with your years of newfound freedom? Do you want to travel the world? Spend time with grandkids? Start a passion project? Will you relocate?
Make plans and then discuss your plan with a financial advisor. Planning is more than just getting excited for this new transition that awaits around the corner.
Make Sure You’ve Taken Care of Your Other Financial Obligations
Retirement planning encompasses many things – an estate plan, tax strategies, portfolio management, the list goes on. It can be a huge benefit to work with a full-service firm that offers family-office style services and can handle all aspects of your financial planning. What you plan to leave in your estate will affect your retirement; taking advantage of tax benefits can help you hold on to your hard-earned money.
Discuss your long-term retirement goals with a financial advisor.
Review Your Retirement Plans as Life Changes
As we age, life can get more complex. Your family grows, your job responsibilities grow and there’s more on the line if something happens.
As you approach 20 years or so from retirement, it’s time to do a thorough check-in on your progress. By now, you’re far enough along to have made serious progress and you’re close enough to retirement to realistically calculate your needs.
If you’re not working with the top Carolina financial advisors at this point, now is a critical time to bring one on. This person can do a thorough evaluation of your current financial situation and make sure you’re not overlooking a major piece of the retirement puzzle.
What To Do In Your 50s
Calculate When You’ll Draw Social Security
You can claim Social Security anywhere from age 62 to age 70. Unless you’re already in poor health, you generally want to claim Social Security as late as possible. The longer you wait until age 70, the higher your monthly benefit will be.
If your full retirement age is 66, for example, you’ll receive 75 percent of your monthly benefit if you take payments at 62. You’ll receive 100 percent at full retirement age, and 108 percent at age 70. This could equate to hundreds of more dollars per month depending on your benefit amount.
Set Your Retirement Date
At retirement, you’ll likely have several sources of income in retirement, depending on your situation. There will be your retirement accounts, investments and Social Security payout, as well as any money that comes from the sale of a business or other professional accomplishment. Once you’ve figured out how much money you can live on using these sources, make it official by setting a date.
Adjust Savings and Investment Strategies
Remember, your retirement could easily last 20 or more years. As you approach your late 50s, it’s time to adjust from a growth mindset to one of preservation. This means increasing the size of your emergency fund and adjusting your investment strategy.
If you’ve had an aggressive investment strategy up until this point, talk with a financial advisor about switching up your asset allocation to a more conservative one.
The Bottom Line
Retirement is the longest vacation you’ll ever take in your life. Taking steps to prepare for it now will set you up for the best retirement imaginable. At Global View, we specialize in crafting personalized financial and retirement plans that help our clients live their dream lives in their Golden Years. Whether you need help developing an investment strategy or protecting your wealth, we have you covered.