Planning for retirement? Here’s what you need to know
When it comes to planning for retirement, most people recognize the importance of saving as early as possible but a majority of them do not get started for one reason or the other. Some just don’t have the right mindset for saving while others simply do not have the right knowledge on how to handle their financial planning for a happy retirement.
To address this, we have put together this guide that will help get your investment and retirement planning in order by taking advantage of financial resources and tools such as retirement planning calculator, stock calculator online and investment calculator online.
Let’s get started.
Pay off the expensive debt first
The best thing you can do to maximize your retirement savings is to pay off your debts especially the ones with high interest. This includes credit card debt and car loans which can be toxic for your finances. No matter how much you can possibly regain through savings and investing, this debt will always come out as a net negative for you. So, pay off your expensive credit card debts and car loan first if you really want to supercharge your retirement savings.
Have an emergency fund
A surefire way to put a dent in your savings plan is by not having an emergency fund in place. By doing this, you put yourself at the risk of turning to high-interest credit card debt when an emergency arises which, as mentioned earlier, is something you really don’t want to do. As a general rule of thumb, it is advisable to have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund. That way you won’t need to resort to expensive credit card loans in a time of crisis.
Make full use of employer match
If your job comes with a paid-for employer match for your 401k account, take full advantage of it by using it to full capacity. Let’s assume that your employer matches 50 cents for every $1 that you invest, up to a limit of 6 percent of salary meaning that if you invest the full 6 percent of your salary, the employer will invest an additional 3 percent.
In total, you will be putting a healthy 9 percent of your salary towards your retirement. You can use our Retirement Planning Tool to obtain a projection of how maximizing your 401k savings account can affect your retirement plan.
Make and follow a budget
Knowing all your expenses whether big or small and then adjusting them according to your income is a no-brainer if you really want to retire with financial freedom. This can be achieved by budgeting your finances and keeping a track of all your regular expenses and bills. When you know that you need to set aside a specific amount for these expenses each month, you are more likely to make room for savings.
One way to optimize your budget for retirement savings is to categorize your savings as a recurring monthly ‘expense’ rather than literal ‘savings’. You can do this by opening a separate savings account that automatically takes money from your main salary or business account ensuring that laziness or excessive spending doesn’t get the better of you.
Have a solid Financial Plan
While saving money is important, knowing where to invest the money you save for maximum returns is even more important. The process starts with figuring out your existing savings and knowing how much money you’ll need once you retire.
As a general rule, you should plan to have 80 percent of your current annual income in retirement. Adjust this amount with any projected retirement income such as pension or social security and you will get the exact amount you’ll need per year in retirement.
Next is to have a balanced asset allocation strategy and invest your money so that it continues to grow before and after retirement. The best way to achieve this is to diversify your assets in different avenues such as stocks, bonds, commodities and emerging market equities. This protects your investment against any potential volatility in the markets and helps you come out on top in the long run.
Use our online investment calculator to find out the approximate rate of return on your investments by testing a variety of asset allocation scenarios.
Revise your asset allocation over time
With time, your financial situation changes and as you edge closer to retirement you would want to have more easily accessible income. This can be achieved by tweaking your asset allocation as your needs change.
If you have started saving at a young age and don’t have a family to support for the initial few years of your career, it would be wise to keep a majority of your portfolio in growth assets with maximum return. As you grow older, you can move more of your assets to fixed income options such as bonds and high dividend stocks.
Having said that, by no means you should move all your investment away from growth assets as you want your money to do the work for you even after you retire.
Use our online stock calculator and online investment calculator if you need to figure out your ideal asset allocation based on your individual situation, preferences, and retirement goals.
Make use of tax-advantaged retirement accounts
When saving for retirement, one way to fast-track your progress is to make good use of special retirement accounts that are given a tax break from the government. These include 401(k), traditional IRA and Roth accounts allow of which allow you to contribute up to $5000 per year.
With these accounts, you have the option to take out contributions and earnings without paying any tax during retirement. In some cases, you have the option to pay income tax upfront and avoid capital gains and interest taxes in the future. In short, a 401(k), 403(b) and an IRA are all fantastic retirement account options.
To sum it up, starting out as early as possible, using the right retirement planning tools and some careful planning can go a long way towards comfortable retirement. Here at Insure You Know, we understand this fully which has led us to build powerful stock calculator and investment calculator that you can use online to plan your retirement.