Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Start Early for a Comfortable Retirement

Many people don't start thinking about their retirement planning until they are well into their career – then they realize how much valuable time they lost. If you start saving for retirement now, you have the best shot at attaining long-term control over your finances and ending up your life in comfort.

A common way people take advantage of time and compound interest is through an Individual Retirement Account. If you open an IRA in 2007 you can invest $4,000, which is the maximum annual contribution. That $4,000 will be invested in mutual funds, stocks or bonds that will provide a return within the IRA account. By the end of the first year you'll have the original $4,000 investment, plus any income it has earned. Now you've got $4,000 earning interest plus interest earning interest. And on top of that, you can make a contribution in 2008. The entire sum will earn interest and so on.

If you start making annual $4,000 contributions to a Roth IRA at age 37, you'll have contributed $112,000 by the time you retire at age 65. At a 7 percent rate of return, you should have $345,386 in your account at retirement age.

Keys to Retirement Success
  • Start early: the younger you are when you begin contributing to your IRA, the longer your money will have to compound, making it worth even more when you retire.
  • Contribute every year: Even if you're tempted, don't skip your IRA contribution. Give your money the best possible chance to grow by socking away a little bit every year.
  • Resist the temptation to withdraw the money early: You'll have to pay a penalty of about 10 percent and your retirement nest egg will be that much smaller.
  • Aim for a high rate of return: The more your money earns annually, the more you'll have at retirement.
  • Leave the money in longer: Money gets the greatest effect from compounding in the later years, so the longer you can leave it in your account, the more you'll have when you withdraw it.

10 Barriers to Success (from John Bishop of Teaching Moments)

  1. No clear vision – the clearer your vision is of your goal, the faster you will achieve it.
  2. Fear of failure – don’t let worry, fear and uncertainty hold you back from reaching your goal. Eliminate bummer words like never, can’t, maybe or if.
  3. Lack of determination – turn challenges into opportunities. Come at them from the other side.
  4. No action plan – write a detailed, step-by-step plan including a timetable and written strategy that you review every day or week.
  5. Change –make adjustments as needed but don’t lose focus on the goal.
  6. Negative thinking – everyone has some self-doubt. Ask yourself everyday: 1. Did I give my best effort and 2. Did I move closer to my goals?
  7. Lack of enthusiasm – you are your own best cheerleader. Look at all days as good days, some are just better than others. You’ll find your enthusiasm is contagious.
  8. Procrastination – You can have a great written plan, but you must take action. Be self-motivated, determine what motivates you and take action.
  9. Making excuses – take responsibility for your success.
  10. Learn from your mistakes – Everyone makes them. Successful people turn mistakes into learning opportunities.

Roadblocks can actually be stepping stones to success. Identify what holds you back and turn it into an opportunity!

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