Imagine saving and investing enough to enable yourself to retire by age 50. Or to retire from a career position at age 50, only to turn around and invest in your “second life” as an entrepreneur and start your own business. Making good financial decisions in your 20’s can pave the road for retirement at a younger-than-average age, allow you to travel or enjoy the finer things in life while you’re still spry enough to enjoy them.
Saving for Retirement
Pain in the butt? Kind of. When you consider the alternative – being old, frail, and living out your final years in a cheap apartment or low-income nursing home… well, saving for retirement doesn’t sound all that bad. Considering the facts revolving around the social security shortfall, it would be in your best interest to begin saving for retirement (if you haven’t already) or to continue saving if you have an account already set up. Continue contributing as much as you can to your retirement savings account or 401k account – and take it to the next level by making smart choices about where your investment dollars go.
- 401k: One of the smartest moves you can make with your 401k account is to diversify your investments. Your 401k account will generate earnings from the interest accrues from mutual funds and from the growth of these funds over time. Mutual funds focus on a number of different investment types, like stocks and bonds. The interest you receive based on the fluctuation of these investments can multiply when you diversify.
- Rollover: The need may arise for you to reconsider your 401k account. If you switch jobs, for instance, you would need to rollover the funds from your 401k account, because the fees associated with early withdrawal could lead to a tax liability you won’t want to deal with.
- Dividends: this all-important share of what you make off your investments can be reinvested through a DRIPS, or Dividend Reinvestment Plan, which is designed to simplify dividend reinvestment for small shareholders.
If you’ve defined a goal – like retiring in your 50’s – then it’s likely you already know you’ll need to make some sacrifices in order to achieve that goal. Creating a budget and living a fairly frugal lifestyle is one significant way in which you will begin to set the standard for the years to come. Take the time to explore the multitude of ways in which saving money can put more back into your savings or 401k. Choose to live responsibly. Try couponing, sale-hopping, outlet shopping, and repurposing in order to keep more money in your wallet. Take advantage of every tax break you can – like owning your own home. Understand that purchasing a new vehicle every 2 or 3 years is more of a liability than a bonus. Settling in comfortably to a lifestyle that provides what you need, instead of living a lifestyle of excess, will set the stage for the years to come.
Enlist Your Family
Maybe you don’t have kids yet, but perhaps one day you will. As your young family grows, instill the foundation of responsible finances into your kids. Kids who are raised with a strong work ethic, and who begin to understand the concept of personal finance from a young age are more likely to adapt – and to adopt your own financial habits. If your kids understand your savings goals as the means for caring for their parents as they age, they may be more willing to work to put themselves through college, instead of having the expectation that it’s the parents’ responsibility to take out loans to pay for their education.
Overall, early retirement is do-able if you take a pro-active stance from a fairly young age. Though economic setbacks may affect your quest to retire sooner, rather than later, staying focused on your task can see you through to the future you envision for yourself.