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How to Financially Plan for Your Retirement

How to Financially Plan for Your Retirement

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    Even if you’re young, retirement will arrive faster than you expect. If you’re not in a career you love, you might even feel like retirement can’t arrive quickly enough. Even more concerning is the idea that if you’re not financially ready for retirement, you could spend your “golden years” struggling to stay afloat. Fortunately, there are ways you can more easily avoid that risk and financially plan for retirement. Here are five issues to consider when you’re making those retirement plans.

    1. Understand the Differences Between Savings and Income

    Having a savings account or other investment vehicle is a great idea. You want to have saved as much as possible before you retire, so you can be ready to stop working and enjoy whatever you have planned in your later years.

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    Savings, though, is not the same as income. If you don’t still have any money coming in, your savings could eventually be depleted. Because you don’t want that worry hanging over you in older age, you need both savings and income.

    One way to generate more income for your retirement planning is by opening accounts that provide you with strong returns over time. Scottsdale Bullion and Coin suggests that you consider transforming part of your retirement investments into a tax-deferred asset through the creation of a precious metal IRA. Precious metals such as gold can increase in value at a much stronger rate than more traditional investment vehicles.

    2. Pay Off Debt

    Debt is a problem for most people, from early adulthood through middle age and beyond. However, when you go into your retirement years with debt, the struggle can become even more significant. Therefore, it’s very important to factor in a debt repayment plan before entering retirement.

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    Cars, homes, student loans, credit cards, and other types of debt should all be paid off before your retirement date. Then, all you need to be concerned with in your later years are normal household bills, along with standard purchases and anything extra you want to spend money on (travel, family, etc.).

    3. Apply for Government Benefits

    It’s important to know what kinds of benefits you’ll be able to receive from the government in retirement. Social Security and Medicare may be very important to you, depending on what other income streams and insurance options you have. However, it’s often best to delay receiving Social Security, if possible.

    Those who put off drawing on their Social Security benefits will get more per month—all other things being equal—than those who claim it early. If you’ve successfully planned for retirement, you shouldn’t have to take your Social Security benefits too early.

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    4. Budget for the Future

    The cost of long-term care is rising, and nearly 70 percent of people who live past the age of 65 will eventually need this type of care. Some will require it for a number of years. With that in mind, you should financially plan for retirement in a way that takes into account as many different scenarios as possible.

    Long-term care insurance can be a good choice for retirement planning. You can also consider investments that will pay strong dividends, as these can be used to pay for long-term care, as well. Assuming that you won’t need this type of care could leave you struggling in retirement, so it’s much better to plan for the possibility.

    5. Attend to Legal Matters – Insurance, Wills, Power of Attorney

    Getting your affairs in order is another excellent way to handle financial planning for retirement. Go through your will and make sure there aren’t changes you’ve put off making. Also, consider what kind of insurance policies you have, how much they’re for, and whom you have for beneficiaries.

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    If you have a power of attorney (POA), make sure you’re comfortable with the person you’re giving control to. If you aren’t, or you don’t have a POA, now is the time to get one ready. The odds are that you’ll enjoy many happy years in retirement, but it’s better to take care of things sooner, rather than later.

    Attending to legal matters early will help ensure that your retirement will be comfortable, and that you won’t have to worry about money as you age. As you get closer to retirement, you can assess how much you’ll have in terms of savings and income. You can also take a look at your debt levels and see what you might need to change to pay off debt before you retire.

    No matter how young you are, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. If you start budgeting and preparing now, you’ll be ready to live comfortably when you reach an age where you want to retire. Then, you can move confidently away from the workforce and into all the joy and adventure your later years will have to offer you.

    Featured photo credit: Skloff via skloff.com

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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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