3 Ways to Build a Retirement Plan that Grows
The retirement that you’ve always wished for won’t happen on its own. Unless you’re independently wealthy, or have a wealthy benefactor, it takes discipline and thought to save up for and plan retirement.
Planning takes much more than one act, one decision, or one goal. It’s a lot of actions that evolve over time, ending with you in the position that you designed and brought to life. You are the architect of your own retirement, so it’s up to you to make your savings grow.
1. Start Now! However Old You Are!
If there’s one piece of advice that you’ll hear over and over, it’s to start your retirement plan as early as possible. That’s a logical course, but not all of us are young and diligent.
If you are young — do be diligent: The sooner you start saving the more time you’ll have to save, and the more money you’ll likely have once you retire. But starting early has other benefits. You can save less as you go, and it will have more time to grow as long as you make your money work for you.
You’ll have plenty of avenues for saving. Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans and the many different IRAs take your pre-tax earnings and tuck them away to grow until retirement. As for your portfolio, the possibilities include stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, annuities in all their forms, bonds, and many others.
If you are older — save more & be flexible: There are countless stories of people in their fifties and early sixties who suddenly realized that they were without retirement savings. They scrimped a little, shifted priorities, retired a little later and had a good nest egg to enjoy.
Working longer and maximizing savings will give you the best chance of a secure retirement. Delaying the start of Social Security and potentially tapping your home equity are other good tactics.
2. Don’t Be Afraid of Investing
When you start young, higher risk investments shouldn’t be scary, even though the market goes up and down on the short term like a yoyo. There’s always the possibility for loss, but there’s also time to make up for losses before you retire.
MarketWatch explains that even with all of the regular ups and downs, practically every 10-year period shows growth. In fact, the only widespread losses in any 10-year period happened in the 1930s. Every decade thereafter shows growth, with the exception of a .9 drop on the S&P 500 Index between 2000 and 2010.
Higher rates of return make risky investments worth it. And they’re not as much of as risk as it seems when you step back and examine the overall patterns.
If you are older, you will want to choose investments that will at least keep pace with inflation, but you probably do not have the time to recover from extreme lows in the stock market.
3. Reevaluate Your Progress Regularly
It’s one thing to design a great plan, but it’s something else to keep it that way. Times change, in nearly every way imaginable. And what’s important to you now might not be in 5, 10 or 20 years.
Reevaluation, says Investopedia, is critical to retirement planning health. You need goals to strive for, but you also need the flexibility to change those goals as you go along.
A retirement calculator is a valuable tool for gauging progress and reevaluating goals, which is another critical element of a good plan, according to Investopedia. With a calculator, you can see where your money works best, check on how well your plan is performing, and even get suggestions on making it stronger.
A good retirement plan takes effort from the time that you start until you retire. Because life expectancy is getting longer, you might even think about investing during retirement. And the more that you learn and become comfortable with it now, the better positioned you’ll be later to manage your portfolio like a pro.
NewRetirement can help with every phase of retirement planning. From devising your initial plans to realizing your dream, we have the tools to help you succeed. Check out our Best Retirement Calculator today, and set your own retirement plan on a path of long-term growth.