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Happy New Year and A Happy Retirement

Money-Guy 01-12-2010

Well, I’ve missed you guys. We took a few weeks off for the holidays, and I can only hope that absence has made the heart grow fonder. I thought a great way to start out this new year of financial topics was to touch on an area that I think a lot of people are probably thinking about right now. I’m sure many individuals have made the resolution for 2010 to get their financial house in order and, as part of that, get serious about saving for retirement.

It comes as no surprise that, considering the economic downturn of 2008 coupled with the significant recovery of 2009, many individuals don’t really have a good grasp of how they are doing in saving for retirement or, if they are already retired or nearing retirement, don’t know if they have enough to last.

This is the exact topic that was discussed in the February 2010 edition of Consumer Reports. In an articled tilted A happy retirement: 6 steps that work, the author walks through a study and survey that Consumer Reports did on currently retired and nearly retired individuals. In addition to some really good stats, the article also shares 6 steps to a successful retirement. As you listen to the show, I will expand on each of these:

  1. Live Modestly – Spend less than you make and don’t live beyond your means.
  2. Maximize Your Savings – If your employer offers an incentive match on your retirement plan, make sure you are taking advantage of that. It is FREE money!
  3. Reduce Debt – Being debt free or near debt free is almost a must in retirement. There is a significant psychological change that happens when an individual enter into retirement and it sure is nice to not have that additional debt burden.
  4. Don’t Invest Too Conservatively – Because of diversification, taking even a moderate amounts of risk can pay off. You don’t have to go out on a limb to get the best return. Adding multiple “risky” asset classes can actually reduce the overall risk of your portfolio.
  5. Study Your Options – Always have a plan B. When determining your retirement goals be sure to come up with both a best case and worst case scenario.
  6. Take The Intangibles Seriously – Remember that money is only a tool to help you reach your goals.

As you listen to the show I also share some insights from Dr. Thomas Stanley, author of “The Millionaire Next Door” and the newly released “Stop Acting Rich…And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire“. His new book is incredible, and he shares some pretty incredible thoughts on what it really means to be wealthy and successful.

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