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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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    Published on November 20, 2018

    The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

    The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

    The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

    Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

    In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

    Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

    Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

    If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

    I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

    It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

    For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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    How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

    Stop manually tracking your spending.

    Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

    When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

    Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

    The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

    Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

    Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

    Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

    If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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    Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

    Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

    1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
    2. Only buy nice things after saving
    3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

    These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

    How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

    Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

    So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

    By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

    This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

    For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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    Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

    A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

    Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

    You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

    What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

    Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

    Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

    During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

    Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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    Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

    Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

    By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

    The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

    Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

    Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

    What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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