Monday, April 28, 2014

Our approach to retirement must shift

If you are thinking about retirement, no matter what your age here is some advice from Mawker to help you start planning and savings so you will not be living in poverty when you retire. In Canada, most do not have a pension plan. As a result many Canadians will have to rely on government pensions. Many people do not realize that the maximum one could get from these pensions is about $18, 500 a year.  The time to plan is now.

#1. Just Say "Now"
Don’t wait until retirement is looming before you start saving. The more time you give yourself, the more versatility you’ll have when you get to the crunch time. Most advisors will tell you that saving for your retirement isn’t so much about cutting costs and increasing savings as it is just saving consistently.

A percentage of each and every paycheck should be put away in your nest egg, whether that’s a savings account, a CD, an IRA or a 401(k). Even if you’re approaching retirement, starting now is better than never starting at all. Despair and inaction and procrastination are not your friend.

#2. Use All the Tools Available
There are a variety of methods to save for retirement. No one solution is going to solve every person’s problems. That’s why you should be proactive when it comes to your retirement. A few accounts to consider are:

Bonds. These mature over time and tend to have a consistent percentage of growth.
Stocks. Businesses usually grow and increase the value of their shares. But keep in mind that the market is volatile, and what can be a sure bet today could be a hole in your financials tomorrow.
IRAs. There are several different kinds of accounts out there that can provide good tax advantages and can meet your needs.

#3. Retirement Investing
Most retirement investors only allow you to select from a limited portfolio of options. This is to restrict your funding to investments that the investor can vouch for. Unfortunately, playing it safe rarely ever nets you much in the way of profit gains.

Investing, however, does come with risks. The stock market is notorious for its ups and downs. In a world where one Twitter hoax can make $200 billion vanish in the blink of an eye, we need to be cautious and deliberate in where our money goes.

However, for those experienced in investing and used to making their own decisions when it comes to their money, there are options like American Pension Services that allow you to self-direct your retirement-investment contributions. This kind of investing has become particularly popular because any gains from your investing, much like your retirement funding, is tax-free. To facilitate this, American Pension Services offers seminars on self-directed IRAs.

#4. Real Estate
As a rule, the price of property tends to go up. But to play the real estate game, you have to learn from the recent housing crisis. Too many people participated in property flipping, where they would buy a property they couldn’t really afford and then try to “flip” it, selling it for a profit before the bill came due.

Unfortunately, when the crisis hit in 2008, the market dried up and many people who had invested in real estate found themselves upside down, owing more on homes that weren’t worth that much anymore. You need to have time on your side when it comes to investing in property, so that when bad times hit, you can hold onto it until the market rebounds and prices begin to climb.

Retirement may seem a lifetime away, or it may just be around the corner. Either way, it’s vital to recognize just how much our previous understanding of retirement has shifted. Our approach to retirement must shift as well so that we can be properly prepared for the future.

The kind of retirement you envisioned is possible, but the prospect of achieving it without some direction on your part is no longer possible. The time of the pension plan plus Social Security providing for your needs has passed on. No doubt there’s a lot of grieving to be done for that way of life, but part of the grieving process is to clarify our thoughts and to help us move on.

The opportunities are out there, it just now takes a lot more effort on our part to find them. The important thing is to find the right mix of savings and investment, so you have a guaranteed nest egg that isn’t at risk, but that you’re also taking some wise risks in hopes to reap a healthy benefit later.

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