The “Best-Cast Retirement Strategist” Part 1

Are you close to retirement? Or does retirement seem so far away, you can’t even envision it? Whatever your time frame, you probably do want to retire some day. A 2011 study from the Metlife Mature Market Institute contains a lot of interesting information about how retirees and pre-retirees create a financially successful retirement. We always hear about the challenges of achieving a secure retirement, but this survey asked respondents who felt that they were successful in their work towards a “best-case” retirement strategy how they did it. The survey found a common set of approaches to producing the best possible outcome. Not surprisingly, there’s some planning involved. According to the survey, a best-case strategist: Stops, sits down, and focuses on the future…and talks about it Has a sense of self-reliance Thinks about the future – all the way to the end Anticipates…or, expects the unexpected Designates a budget column, today, for a future self Sets and lives by personal financial rules Engages in the “What ifs?” Puts pencil to paper, or cursor to screen; Does the math – All of it Gathers information Seeks advice Gets the house in order – literally Starts as soon as possible Over several blog posts, I’ll discuss these actions and what you can do to incorporate them into your life, no matter where you are in your journey towards retirement. Stops, sits down, and focuses on the future… and talks about it I’ve started with this attribute because I’d like to offer this series as a conversation starter for you as you consider your own retirement readiness. I know we’re all busy,...
New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

While you’re contemplating your New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, I hope you can identify something simple that might improve each area of your life, including the financial/money area.  Here are some quick things to do on the financial side that can make a difference: 1)      Review your spending plan:  Are you on track with your spending plan?  Do you have one?  If you think you’d benefit from using a spending plan (and most people would), don’t get stuck on the idea that you need to go BACK in time. Start tracking your actual spending in January and February, then set up a time in March to review what you spend and set up a plan.  Pick one area that’s important to you:  Do you give the kids money whenever they ask?  If so, track that area over the next 2 months and decide if you might be more disciplined by using another approach.  Do you eat out – a lot?  Set a goal for the number of times per week you’ll eat out, and track your savings.  Most people have one or two areas where they can save simply by adding some focus.  Find that area, pay attention to it, and set a goal! 2)      Increase your savings:  For pre-retirees who are still adding to savings, give your savings rate a boost.   Maybe you’ve set aside 5% of your salary every year for the last 5 years.  This year, commit to raising that percentage, even if it’s by one percentage point.  If you save an additional $600 per year for 20 years at 6% interest, that’s an additional $22,000....