Retirement strategies for your future

Retirement strategies for your future

Saving for retirement can seem like a daunting undertaking, but if you use some foolproof strategies and lifestyle modifications, it can be a simple task that turns out to be enjoyable and profitable.

Before you begin saving, you'll need to come up with a determined amount that will get you through the rest of your life.

First, you'll need to take your retirement age and your personal life expectancy into consideration. Although most people would like to retire by age 55, the average retirement age is 65, so add up the years and find out how long you have to save your pennies.

Next, although it may sound a bit odd, decide how long you expect to live. Will you live until you are 80? 90? Do you want to live over 100 years old? If so, you'll need to save enough money to carry you through the years. It is always best to over estimate your life expectancy than to underestimate.

Once you have decided how many years you have to save and how many years you plan on using your savings, decide how much you'll need to live comfortably over this time period. Think about medical expenses, disability insurance, transportation expenses, your mortgage or rent, utilities, food, travel and leisure, and don't forget to include an amount for the ever present unforeseen expenses.

After you have set up your future budget, tack on 2% inflation for each year and viola! You now know how much you need to save to live comfortably during your retirement years.

The last step in determining your savings is to figure out how much you will need to save per year, per quarter, per month, per week and possibly, per day, so that you may live relaxed and successful during your retirement years.

Now that the easy part is done and you have your future written down on the paper before you, it is time to figure out how to plan your personalized retirement strategy.

What can you do today to make life easier tomorrow?

' Pay off debt. The interest fees that you are paying each month could be going directly into your retirement savings fund. Pay cash whenever possible. Only charge one large item at a time, and pay it off before you make your next large purchase. Find ways to cut interest rates and diminish debt.

' Reduce spending. Make your coffee at home instead of paying $4.00 a day. Wash and iron your clothes instead of going to the cleaners. Eat out one or two times less a week. Finding ways to reduce your spending habits can be a fun and lucrative endeavor.

' Contribute more to your retirement fund. Find out if your employer matches your contributions and double your savings. While you're at it, enjoy the tax deferment.

' Start investing. Invest in stocks and mutual funds. Find out as much as you can about investing through a book, class or financial planner. Find ways to make your money grow.

' Save those bonuses. When you get a bonus, cash birthday gift or unexpected money, put half of it in your retirement savings. You'll never miss it and you'll still have money to spend.

' Save your loose change. It may sound too easy and childlike, but everyone has been surprised at how quickly loose change adds up. Start tossing your pennies into a jar and while your at it, toss in the five dollars that you saved by making your own coffee this morning.

' Find alternative sources of income. Take on a fun, second job now, while you're still young, or semi young. Start freelancing, study your favorite art, write a book, or find an online business and dedicate all proceeds to your retirement fund. It will not only help you save quicker, but might give you a way to make money after retirement.

There are many ways to save money for retirement. Saving a simple $5.00 a day is saving $1,825 a year. Saving $10 a day adds up to $3,650. Toss in a fun job for extra income, a few Christmas bonuses, and a little investing over the years, and when you're enjoying a work-free life, you'll be surprised at how easy your retirement strategy was.

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