After working hard your entire life, all you want to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor once you’re ready for retirement. Maybe that country club you’ve always wanted to join is calling your name; maybe it’s finally time to take that destination cruise you’ve always dreamt of, or maybe you’re just looking forward to the privilege of spending every day with your grandchildren.
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However you envision yourself enjoying your Golden Years, there’s one thing that has to come first: saving for your retirement account. Investing for retirement is an absolute must if you want to live comfortably and sustainably once you no longer receive income from working.
If a secure, stress-free retirement is what you’re looking for, here’s some advice to keep in mind.
- What’s Better: a 401k or an IRA?
Many people settle with their company’s 401k plan—which is a great decision if the employer matches retirement contributions. But there are additional options, including Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs that might offer better benefits depending on your financial goals. In many cases, you can actually use both a 401k and an IRA together in order to set yourself up for a comfortable retirement. The combination that’s right for you might be different from someone else, but you could be able to double your money by investing $1,000 or less.
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Pro tip: Don’t leave your IRA to surviving family members in your estate; it’s one of the deadliest mistakes you can make when drafting your will. Without a designated beneficiary, the IRA custodian will determine who inherits the account.
- Strategies for Retirement Investments
We talk a lot about retirement investment tips because setting aside funds for your sunset years is an absolute must. Younger investors should pursue a more aggressive investment strategy; although these assets may be riskier, they’ll yield far higher returns and your fund will have plenty of time to recover if the market takes a hit. Allocate the assets in your portfolio wisely; one common rule of thumb is to subtract your age by 120 and place that percentage in stocks than the rest in bonds.
Mutual funds are another investment tool for retirement, but few people know the fees associated with them. Mutual funds that do not offer active account management—such as index funds and exchange-traded funds—typically have the lowest expense ratio (essentially, how much it costs you to invest in one). Try aiming for 0.5% or lower to get the best bang for your buck.
- Manage Your Money by Decade
If you want a comfortable retirement, managing your money by decade is critical. At every stage in your life, you’ll have different financial chapters that, if neglected, will have severe consequences later down the road. From buying your kid’s braces to racking up college loan debt, buying a home and building your nest egg, money management at every major milestone should be your top priority.
Without careful planning, you might find yourself in a position in which you outlive your savings and need more income than Social Security can offer. If that happens to you, don’t panic; there are ways you’ll be able to pad your post-retirement income to afford your living expenses and improve your quality of life. Many financial tools, such as a HECM loan, allow you to convert the equity in your home into disposable income. And the best part about it? You won’t be required to move off the property. We always advocate saving over borrowing though, so use these financing options only as a fallback.
- Keep Hustling
True, as we mentioned earlier, the glory of retirement is that you’re no longer required to work. But to make your life more comfortable, we suggest continuing a part time side hustle that keeps you busy and keeps a streaming source of income. We’re not talking about some miserable part-time job! You might be surprised to learn that many of your hobbies are actually be profitable. Are you a master craftsman or woman? Pop up shop on a site like Etsy and sell your unique items! Doesn’t sound like you? There are plenty of online jobs you can do to pass time and pull income.
Whether retirement is around the corner or long down the road, keep these tips in mind for a secure, stress-free future.