2/20/2018


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Take Your Retirement Seriously

"The future is uncertain so plan today for tomorrow."
~John M. Roberts~

Whether times are good or bad, you should take your retirement seriously. How you spend the last years of your life depends largely on how you plan for retirement. You need to pay special attention to how you spend, how much you save, and how you invest your money during your working years.

We all hope that our retirement income from our jobs, our 401(k) plans and other investment vehicles, and what we receive from social security will carry us through our elderly years. We may feel at peace with our assessment of how well we have planned, but as we have seen lately, it's not a good idea to bank entirely on what you think is going to be there for you in the future.

The future is filled with uncertainty, but you can make the right choices today that will give you a head start on providing yourself with financial security when you get older. You may have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle but it will be worth it in the long run.

It's never to early to start planning for retirement. As a matter of fact, the younger you are when you start your plan of action, the more options you will have. You really should take charge of your future well being while you are young and able. In other words, time is of the essence. You are not going to be young forever. That's a fact. So while you are young, start planning. You will still have time to regroup if you need to change the direction in which you are going.

Change is not always a bad thing, as long as you make sure the change is going to be a positive one. Some people call changing "flip flopping." It's okay. Sometimes, making changes can be what you need to do on personal and financial levels.

Look at all the angles. Sure, your retirement, your 401k and social security may be enough, but what happens if something goes wrong? What would you do if your pension is suddenly reduced or disappears altogether? This was unthinkable in the past, but now, it's not that far fetched. And we have seen what happened to a lot of peoples' 401(k) plans during the past few years. Companies and individuals who were trusted with the money made unwise decisions with it and much of it was lost.

There is also the possibility of losing your job altogether. Jobs aren't as secure as they used to be. Over the past few years, some people who worked for many years on their jobs suddenly found themselves out of work. Some companies went bankrupt, downsized, or relocated their operations overseas in search of a cheaper labor force. There is a growing number of people who are getting laid off and less jobs to go around.

And then there are reports that social security benefits may not be around for many baby boomers when they retire. This is disturbing news, especially if you have worked all of your life paying into the system just to find that benefits may be cut back or may not be there at all. The fact is, you should not depend solely on social security as your nest egg.

You can help yourself by recession proofing your retirement. You can start out by doing little things that will keep your hard earned money in your pockets. A dollar saved here and there can add up to be big savings in the long run.

Take a good look at your lifestyle, especially your spending habits. What you may see is excesses that can be curtailed. You don't have to live like a miser or deprive yourself of the things you like to do. Just scale back on things that are not necessary for your day to day existence. You may find that there are things you can do to save money in areas you never considered before.

Pay down your debt. Pay down credit cards and personal loans. Keep your credit card balances as low as possible. Only use your credit cards when absolutely necessary. If you can't control the urge to use your credit cards, take them out of your purse or wallet, and if necessary, seek credit counseling. You hear this over and over again, but it's true, and it is something you need to understand and deal with. Debt weighs you down and dries up your cash flow.

You can't depend on others, especially the government, to ensure that you live the way you envision your lifestyle after you retire. You have to get serious and take charge, not later, but right now. If you don't take your retirement seriously, you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet when you are to old to do anything about it.

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