We all want to live long lives. We all expect to live long lives. But are we financially ready for this longevity?
Before we get to the issue of preparation, let’s look at a couple of interesting findings from a 2022 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones:
The surveyed retirees said, on average, they expect to live to 89, and they said the ideal length of retirement is 29 years. When asked if they want to live to 100, nearly 70% of the respondents said “yes”. The main reason for this desire for a long life? To spend more years with their family and friends. Of course, none of us can see into the future and know how long we’ll be around. But with advances in medical care and a greater awareness of healthy lifestyles, these aspirations have a real basis in reality. However, if you’re going to enjoy a longer lifespan, and the extra years with your loved ones, you need to ensure your finances are also in good shape. How can you make this happen?
Here are some basic steps to follow:
Save and invest early and often.
This may be the oldest piece of financial advice, but it’s still valid. The earlier you start saving and investing for your retirement, the greater your potential accumulation. Consider this: if you began saving just $5,000 per year at age 25 and earned a hypothetical 6.5% annual rate of return and didn’t take any early withdrawals, you’d end up with $935,000 by the time you reach 65. But if you wait until 35 to start saving and investing, and you earned the same hypothetical 6.5% return – again with no early withdrawals you’d only end up with $450,000. And if you didn’t start saving until 45, you’d end up with just over $250,000 again given the same 6.5% return.
Be mindful of debt.
You may not want to be burdened with certain debts when you enter retirement. So, while you’re still working, try to reduce unwanted debts, particulate those that don’t offer the financial benefits of tax- deductible interest payments. The lower your debt load, the more you can save and invest for the future.
Keep reviewing your progress.
It’s important to monitor the progress you need to make toward achieving your goal of a comfortable retirement. Over the short term, your investment balances may fluctuate, especially in volatile financial markets such as we’ve seen in the early part of this year. But you’ll get a clearer picture of your situation if you look at long-term results. For example, have your accounts grown over the past 10 years as much as you had planned?
And going forward, do you think you’re in good shape, or will you need to make some changes to your investment strategy? Keep in mind that, if you’re 50 or older, you can make catch-up contributions to your IRA and 401(k) that allow you to exceed the regular limits. You may also want to adjust your investment mix as you near retirement to [potentially lower your risk exposure.
Hopefully, you will enjoy many years of a healthy, happy retirement. And you can help support this vision by carefully considering your financial moves and making the ones that are right for you.
Read more articles from VOM Magazine here: https://www.veteransoutreachministries.org/vom-magazine/