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Why Retirement Planning Is More Important Than You Think

Why Retirement Planning Is More Important Than You Think

Retirement is one of those inevitable phases of life, which marks the end of our careers that we have built over the years by acquiring skills and constant hard work.  Assignments, deadlines, meetings etc. soon get replaced by holidays, pursuing new hobbies, and spending more time with family. While some people look forward to this relaxed and stress-free life post retirement, some get worried about the loss of a steady source of income.

If you do not prepare yourself financially, retirement can be quite depressing for you and your family. Retirement is a time when income drops and expenses rise. So, financial planning is required for leading a financially independent life even after retirement.

Financial planning simply refers to saving up money for the future. A number of people start saving for retirement without knowing how much they will need to maintain their standard of living after retirement.

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So, if you have already started your retirement plan, ask yourself one simple question,“Am I saving enough for my retirement?”

In order to beat inflation, both savings and investments are very important

Inflation is the general increase in the price of goods and services. As years pass by, inflation eats away at the value of your money. In order to beat inflation, you need to not just save but invest as well.

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The following are three basic rules of thumb for a successful retirement plan!

1. Start Early

The earlier you start saving for the future, the more money you will have in retirement.The more you procrastinate on your retirement planning, the more money you will have to contribute in order to achieve your retirement goal.

Another advantage of starting early is that you can take risks in your investments. Equities, for example, are risky but it may offer a very high return on your investment. If you want higher return from equities, you may need to stay invested for as long as possible.

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2. Invest in Various Avenues

There are many different investment avenues that can help you grow your money. Mutual funds offer high rates of return on investment, though it requires constant market monitoring to keep your money safe.  ULIPs or Unit linked Insurance Plans may be good investment products as they offer the dual benefit of investment and insurance. Also look into investing in real estate, which can still provide you a steady check while retired.

 3. Stay Invested

(This has been mentioned but needs to be explained further because of how important it is.)

Have patience and stay invested.

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Equity investors, for example, may lose faith in their investments as the initial return often looks disappointing. But if they stay invested for a longer period of time, equities usually offer a high return.

Unit-linked pension plans can be best for successful retirement planning. These plans allow you to choose from various fund options based on your risk appetite. Based on market fluctuations, you can switch and redirect your funds. You may be able to choose to pay your premiums on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis. It will allow you to make investments in a systematic manner over a long period of time for higher returns. In case of your untimely death, your loved ones may be able to receive the the benefits.

Another advantage of a pension plan is that it offers income tax benefits both as the premium and the maturity proceeds. This can be your incentive to stay invested for as long as you earn and are liable to pay taxes.

To Wrap Up!

Retirement is an important milestone in life. Retirement planning, therefore, is a process that should not be left for the later stages of your life. The key to a successful retirement plan is to evaluate your retirement needs, set a financial goal, start early, stick to the plan, and, last but not least, go for products that will not only help you achieve your targeted goal but also protect your money from the volatility of the market.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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George Olufemi O

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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