For younger people, the future can seem like a distant dream. If you’re just starting your career, it’s hard to imagine that 30 years from now, you’ll be considering retirement. Living in the moment is good sometimes, but not when it comes to your money. Planning for your future years can save you lots of stress and hardship down the line – but starting early is key.
Everybody has a fixed length to their career, but nobody knows exactly how long that is or how many years you’ll have to save up for retirement. Set a target range for your career and be conservative in your financial estimates. For example, say you want to retire at age 60. A good strategy would be to plan to reach your retirement goal by age 57 – because there will be things that come up throughout your life that will impact your savings. You can’t plan for everything, but you can do your best to be prepared for hardship.
Also, people live longer nowadays. While retirement used to mean 15-20 years, it’s now common for the golden years to last 25-30 years and beyond! You need to consider how much money you’ll need for two to three decades without work. Younger people today can’t necessarily count on Social Security the way older generations could, so it’s a good idea to leave that out of your future plans. If it’s still around, then it’s a nice bonus!
Having money in the bank is not the same as having a solid financial strategy. Wealth management is about saving a nickel, and then figuring out how to turn that nickel into a dime. With today’s interest rates, that won’t happen without a good investment strategy.
If you’re just starting to explore investments, get with a professional that can help you think about short-term and long-term strategies. I always recommend asking friends and family for referrals or asking your financial institution for a trusted advisor. This lessens the chance that you’ll be scammed by a stranger on the internet.
Planning for the End
Draw up a will with an attorney as soon as you have substantial assets that you’d like to pass on – such as a home, considerable cash savings, property, or valuable heirlooms. When the deceased has several important relationships prior to passing (spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc.), a sudden death can complicate things. One of the most disappointing things I’ve seen in this business is how seemingly nice people turn into monsters over a relative’s money or assets. Having a will can help avoid this unfortunate drama and let your loved ones know what you wish to do with your possessions.
You can never be 100% prepared for what life throws at you. However, being proactive and diligent with your finances early in life can help your later years be more peaceful – doesn’t that sound nice?
By Michael Poulos, President/CEO of Michigan First Credit Union