Now, more than ever before, saving for retirement is all in our hands. Long gone are the days of corporate pension plans. It’s time for each of us to take charge of planning for our golden years no matter how young or old we are. Here are 5 tips that will jump-start your savings and investment process.
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Saving for a rainy day!
I was fortunate that at a very young age, my parents encouraged me to set up a basic savings account at the local bank. It is a practice that I have kept up throughout the years and it is paying off! Although interest rates are at an all-time low, setting aside $25 to $100 or more from each paycheck really adds up. Each year you should re-evaluate your financial situation and consider increasing the amount of money you are contributing to your savings account. Financial experts agree that you should have a three to six month reserve of money that you can easily access in case of emergency.
If a savings account is not for you, consider a money market account.
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Develop a Game Plan
Take time to visualize what you want your retirement years to look like, then make a plan for how much you will need to live the lifestyle you envision. Your plan may include short and long term goals. Now turn your goals into SMART goals. When you put your plan in writing, make sure it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound. Review your game plan every year and make adjustments as necessary. Remember to always keep the end in mind.
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The time to start is now!
Whether you’re in your early 20’s or approaching 50, it’s never too late to start investing. Consider an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Roth IRA, or your company’s 401(k) plan.
Traditional IRA: You make contributions with money you may be able to deduct on your tax return. Any earnings potentially grow tax-referred until you withdraw them during your retirement years.
Roth IRA: You make contributions with money you have already paid taxes on.
401(k): Camden offers a 401(k) plan through Fidelity Investments to all employees.
Employee contributions are on a pretax basis. Camden matches 100% of the first 2% of compensation contributed to the Plan and 50% of the next 5% of compensation contributed to the plan. Any time a company matches your contribution, that’s free money! If possible contribute at least enough to take full advantage of the company’s match.
The best words of advice I ever received from a financial advisor is to diversify your investments in your 401(k). If you are a conservative risk taker, like I am, invest in some low risk funds, add in a few moderate risk funds, and if you can stand it, add in one or two higher risk funds.
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Every time you get a raise, increase your savings and investments
The old saying “Every little bit helps.” is so true when it comes to saving and investing.Start small and try to increase the amount you save or invest on a regular basis throughout the year (every month, every other month, etc.). When you get a raise, consider increasing your savings and upping your contributions to your investment accounts.
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Never stop learning
There are numerous seminars, workshops, and classes to attend as well as books to read on saving and investing your money wisely. Check your local community college and university for credit and non-credit classes. Check the website of your IRA or 401(k) administrator for a listing of seminars that may be available at no cost to you. Take a look at books written by financial authors Suze Orman, Jean Chatzky, and Dave Ramsey. Additional resources to consider are your local libraries and AARP. You’re never too old (or young) to learn.
Whatever your age, start planning for your future.
Please consult a financial advisor for guidance on how to meet your short and long-term financial savings and investment goals.