As we get older it is important to remember that the cost of aging has only gone up in recent years, and is likely to continue with the rising cost of healthcare and housing. In fact, according to a recent survey by Merrell Edge one of the greatest concerns of seniors is that they’ll outlive their savings. That being said, the role of a certified financial professional is now more important than ever, and early planning can help everyone realize their goals, and spend their golden years in peace and comfort. The following are a few tips that each and every one of us can follow to safeguard the retirement you dream of.
Start planning for retirement now, yesterday if possible
Here’s one that we’ve all heard before, but it’s true now more than ever. By investing earlier in your career you stand only to benefit, and to reap the rewards of compounded interest. This also allows you a much longer and less stressful planning period; you wouldn’t spend longer preparing for a summer vacation than you would for the decades of retirement, would you? It’s crucial to remember that you are making plans for the rest of your life; whether you’ll be traveling the world or ice fishing across town, you have to be honest with yourself about your goals and means. Finding the proper mix of sound mutual funds, balanced with stocks and bonds can be an extremely tedious task, and I can guarantee you that it will take time. A certified financial planner can help you establish a long-term, goal-oriented plan for your savings, while diversifying risk, and ensuring that your golden years won’t be spent toiling away.
Cut Your Debt!
This should be every aging Americans’ primary concern. A recent survey by TD Ameritrade, Boomers and Retirement, substantiated this grim reality when findings revealed that the average Baby-Boomer is almost half a million dollars short in savings for retirement.2 Trying to move gracefully into retirement while burdened with debt from credit cards, mortgages, and even student loans will be clumsy to say the least, and in many cases simply impossible. While it might mean cutting back on some luxuries now you have to remember how much more comfort that equity will bring you for years to come.
Plan for emergencies
Sadly, one of the facts we all must face as we get older is that our bodies simply aren’t what they used to be. Although as Americans we have access to one of the most sophisticated healthcare systems in the world, financing many of these procedures is no easy task. In fact, the Washington Post has reported that nearly three-fourths of retirees are unaware that most Americans on Medicare still pay premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, and that Medicare generally doesn’t cover the staggering costs of long-term care.3 Part of any retirement plan should include talking to your insurance provider about your current plan, and (I can not stress this enough) making sure that you have long-term care covered, lest you want to personally bear the costs of assisted living or housing.
Start your own business
Just because you’re retired it doesn’t mean your days all have to be spent golfing or gardening (although that sounds great to me). According to a new AARP survey as many as 1 in 10 seniors working for someone else said they plan to start their own business when they retire.4 Now more than ever seniors are starting their own business, and many are doing exceedingly well. In fact, in the same survey by AARP, 72% of those seniors who identified as self-employed posted a profit for 2011. In these times of uncertain job security and future economic growth, why not make an investment in yourself and a lifetime worth of acquired skills, contacts, and know-how to build something you’re proud to call your own? Remember, being retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working; you just start doing what you love.
Rodney Brooks, Retirement Living: 5 things to do now to prepare, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2013/02/11/retiree-babyboomer-financial-debt/1891349/ (Feb. 12, 2013)
2 Rodney Brooks, Retirement Living: debt holds many Boomers back, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2013/01/28/retire-debt-crisis-retirement-boomers/1840225/ (Feb. 8, 2013)
3 Michelle Singletary, Retirement planning doesn’t have to be rocket science, The Washington Post, http:// articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-12/business/38478791_1_medicare-part-b-long-term-care-insurance-premiums (April 12, 2013)
4 Andrea Coombes, More retirees want to start their own business, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/working-in-retirement-but-on-our-own-terms-2013-04-23 (April 23, 2013)