It is never early to start saving for retirement. In fact, if you started saving in your early 20s, putting aside less than a car payment each month could turn you into a millionaire by the time you retire. It really is easy. Let’s look at five steps that you can take in your 30s (or even your 20s or 40s) to make your retirement dreams a reality:
1. Build long term assets along with savings
It is always important to have a liquid savings account. Financial advisor of television fame Suze Orman recommends that you have six to nine months (or more) worth of pay saved up for a rainy day. This savings could be in a savings account, short term investments such as certificates of deposit (CDs), or even a Roth IRA (where you can withdraw not the interest, but the initial amount that you invested any time, tax and penalty free).
It is also important to accumulate some assets before you retire. Having your house paid off is an awesome goal. Two great ways to do this faster:
2. Generate a side or second source of income
Making more money is always a great way to help you save more. While you are young, healthy and energetic take all the extra hours that you can. As your pay goes up do not increase your spending, instead, increase your savings.
Consider a part time job around the holidays or picking up freelance work. You can also sell old belongings online to make a few bucks. Or, if you have a structured settlement from an old personal injury case or other lawsuit you may want to sell structured settlements payments to give you extra cash to fund your savings, pay off debt, or invest in a retirement account.
3. Keep investing in life insurance policies
Life insurance policies are a great way to guarantee a retirement future for your spouse and those who depend upon you. While there are whole life policies that can be borrowed against or cashed out in retirement, financial wizard Suze Orman does not recommend these. Instead, term life is the way to go.
Term life insurance policies are short term policies (5, 10, 20, or 30 years, usually) that are best used to protect a spouse or family when they depend on another person for their income. So, if your family depends on your income be sure that you have an insurance policy that can replace your income if something happens to you. When you ensure the financial future of those you love you will feel more relaxed – maybe you will even live longer.
4. Invest in bonds, annuities, and stocks
There are many ways to invest your money and earn interest. Retirement accounts are great because they let you put your money into stocks and bonds and earn interest, all while keeping your money in a safe place where it is not to be touched until retirement.
Remember, with an IRA or 401k you pay income taxes when you take the money out; with a Roth IRA you pay income taxes when you earn the money and withdraw the money tax free after you retire. Annuities can provide a steady stream of income, though Suze Orman does not recommend them.
5. Save more and spend wisely avoiding debts
Saving money in the sense of putting it away safely and earning interest is very important. But saving money every day on things that you have to buy is great also. Shop sales. Avoid using credit cards, or at least pay your cards off in full each month to avoid interest. Here’s an interesting tip: pay things like your car insurance, cell phone bill, and utility bills with a credit card that lets you earn cash back rewards.
Time goes by much more quickly than you realize when you are in your 20s and 30s. Right now it may seem like you have all the time in the world, but the time to save for tomorrow is now. With a solid plan and a little discipline you can make a better financial tomorrow for yourself.
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