If you become anxious when you think about retirement solutions, you are in good company. Interest rates are low, but inflation seems to be looming. The stock market has recovered since the crash of 2008, but the market has been volatile lately. You might have equity in your home, but it’s nowhere near what it used to be. How could anyone in their right mind be anything but worried?
While it’s understandable to fret over situations beyond your control, there are many retirement solutions that are completely within your power to do something about:
Your retirement success rests on a three-legged stool of your spending, income and assets. By far, you have the most control over how much money you spend. I know this sounds basic, and you’re probably nodding your head and asking me to tell you something you didn’t already know. But when was the last time you went through your spending and made really tough decisions? Were you able to stick to the cuts you decided on? It’s tough.
The easiest way to get your budget under control is to first know what you actually really spend. You can do that best by simply getting a software package and updating it every week. Then, once a month, have a family meeting to go over how successful you were, as a family, in staying within your budget.
You have more control over your income than you realize. For example, is there a law against getting a second job? Are earthquakes going to destroy your home if you go back to work after you get some vocational skills training? There’s no shame in doing this. In fact, even if you feel secure with your current job, I strongly recommend you consider getting a side business going. This way, if you do have a sudden job loss, you’ll be covered. And if your job remains stable, you’ll have developed a nice side income to supplement your retirement. What’s wrong with that?
The main point I want to stress right now is that once you retire, you still need long-term investments even though you might feel like you can’t tolerate the risk. This is because you want your money to throw off income for as many years as you or your spouse are alive. If you want to generate income during retirement from those investments you must know that fixed income investments aren’t the only way to create income.
Folks get anxious and nervous when they feel that their lives are out of control. Certainly, in the world of investing, much is out of your control. But my experience tells me that most people create their own worst problems. They don’t track their spending, they don’t have a budget, they don’t consider alternative income-generating ideas, and they make the wrong investments. These mistakes, completely under your control, are far more important than any temporary flare-up in the stock market or with interest rates.
What are you going to do today to make your retirement more secure?
Photo by thinkpanama.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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