Thoughts of retirement often bring mixed emotions—the fear of affording retirement coupled with the excitement of the possibilities retirement can bring. Unfortunately, the fear is real and for some trumps the excitement of what the term “golden years” used to represent. Will you be able to retire? What will you need to do to accomplish this goal and still live comfortably? These are just a few of the many critical questions we’ve seen posed about retirement over the past several years.
The fear that retirement is growing more and more unlikely is prevalent, as some individuals save less and less each year. And, the problem isn’t only that people are saving less. Many are unprepared due to lack of employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)s. Companies with less than 100 employees do not have to offer retirement plans, and many of them don’t.
Lack of an employer-sponsored 401(k) would hopefully behoove you to actively seek out investment plans and opportunities for yourself. This can be a daunting task to accomplish on your own. And, if you think you don’t have enough information on the different plans and investments out there, you’re not alone. According a study by Transamerica Center, 75% of millennials want more information and advice on how to invest for retirement.
The path to successful retirement doesn’t simply begin with which retirement plan you choose or even the investments in that plan. Although—those two things are critical indeed! But, A successful path begins with your ability to learn how to save for retirement in the first place, and to become committed to that initial plan to save.
You might be thinking, “I really don’t think I can afford to invest in a retirement plan!” But, to that, we’d say—you’d be surprised! Any little bit you save can help. Trimming your budget, forgoing dining out, choosing to watch a movie at home instead of the theater, etc., are a few ideas that can allow you a bit extra funds to sock away for retirement.
Around 70% of both generation-xers and millennials claim to be investing in some sort of retirement plan, which is great. However, only 12% of generation x employees feel confident that they will be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle, and 2/3s of baby boomers think that they will likely have to work past the age of 65. This is sobering news, but you don’t have to be a victim. You do have choices if you’re willing to make sacrifices along the way in order to retire.
With that being said, here are some points to ponder to get you started (or reinforce the plans you already have in place) to develop a healthy retirement portfolio.
First: If your employer sponsors retirement plans, make sure you participate. If your employer doesn’t sponsor a retirement plan, or if you are self-employed, you can open an individual retirement plan. Traditional and Roth IRAs, along with individual(k)s are the most well known, but SEP and SIMPLE IRAs offer great benefits for the self-employed. Once you establish a plan that’s best for you, you can start contributing the money you’re saving into that plan…and begin investing.
This brings us to our second point: Don’t just invest the minimum in your retirement plan! You reap the biggest rewards if you max out the annual contribution limits provided by your plan. Also, for maximum success, make sure the investments in your account are diverse. Some like to play it safe, others are more daring—but diversity is the rule of thumb to ensure you don’t loose all your hard-earned savings on a potential lousy investment.
Investing leads us to our last point: If you plan to open an individual retirement account, look into self-directed plans. Why? Well, statistics show that one in four millinnials don’t know how their retirement funds are invested, but, remember, 75% of this same category desire more information on that subject. And, rightly so! This is your money and you should learn how it is invested. One of the benefits of self-directed retirement plans is that they give you—the retirement plan owner—control of choosing your own investments. Doing so allows you to create a diverse portfolio of alternative assets that have the potential to earn income at a faster, steadier pace than the traditional stock, bond, and mutual fund. All of the plans mentioned in our first point can be self-directed.
Final thoughts: Don’t become a statistic of the “retirement crisis” that employees like yourself are facing. Talk to your employer about company sponsored plans and consider diversifying into self-directed plans. Invest the max, and cut corners in your personal budget now to ensure a safe and comfortable financial future in your retirement.
Advanta IRA can help you navigate the intricacies of investing for your retirement. Our retirement planning checklist is catered to those who are trying to figure out where to start, and gives tips on how to choose a plan that’s right for you.
While many of our clients are seasoned professionals in the investing world, many are not—and have found that self-directed investing is beneficial in many ways. From controlling their own retirement funds, to choosing their own investments and diversifying their portfolios…self-directed investing offers a world of opportunities that can put you on the right path to a successful retirement.
Advanta IRA is a self-directed retirement plan administrator serving clients across the nation who manage their own retirement funds and investing decisions. So, if you’re looking for somewhere to start and are interested in self-directed IRAs, give us a call.