Saving Strategies: Fund Travel, Retirement and..

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Early steps in retirement planning pay big benefits later

You may feel like retirement is a long, long, long time away. Too many people put off making decisions about how they will spend their money and  their financial future. Even if you are fresh out of high school, you can start making plans for what matters to you - travel, exploration and your retirement.  If you want your money to be there when you need it - for family vacations, a healthy retirement or pursuing new interests, you must plan ahead.

“Retirement planning isn’t just for seniors,” says veteran financial advisor Kris Miller. “Start learning early and you will find that a little planning goes a long way."

Ms. Miller, author of the book Ready For PREtirement? Plan Retirement Early So Your Money Is There When You Need It, implores people to plan their retirement early. “No one relishes talking about issues like emergencies, unforeseen layoffs, long-term illness and even death. Planning for such circumstances is crucial to protecting your family’s financial future.”

She created the acronym PREtirement to define and explain the actions associated with preparing early for retirement.  She shows people in their 20’s or 30’s prepare for the future.

Will you be able to create a nest egg that gives you 70% of your pre-retirement yearly salary?  Here are some of the steps she urges young people to take:

• Start Saving Money Now.

Even if you just cut out a few expenses, that extra Starbucks, and use that savings to start investing in retirement, it will make a big difference. If travel remains a priority put aside extra money to keep your exploration plans intact.

• Max out your 401(k).

It’s easy, all you have to do is fill out a form to increase it to the maximum contribution.  And if your employer matches a certain percentage of your contributions, that’s free money. Best of all, you get a tax deferral which will save you a ton of money.

• Start a Roth IRA.

It’s best to have multiple investments, instead of just your 401(k), which might not be sufficient for your retirement needs. The Roth IRA will let you receive your money tax free.

• Get Some Life Insurance.

If you have a spouse or children you may want to check into some life insurance, and disability insurance. (Get insurance that covers 60% of your current income to be safe.)

• Build an Emergency Fund.

You want at least 3-6 month of expenses for an emergency fund.

Pay Down Debt Second. Invest First.

Fully fund all tax-deferral plans first. Then pay down debt with your remaining capital. Then build post-tax savings only to create a small nest egg (for temporary hardship until debt is paid off and then go big after that).

Get Real With Your Retirement Planning.

Learn about estate planning. Create a revocable living trust allows individual choice and control over legal and financial decisions today, tomorrow and in the future.

• Create And Execute A Will Properly.

Identify what you want done with your property, identify a guardian for your children, and sign and date Powers of Attorney and Assisted Living Directives to avoid probate, reduce medical expenses and make things easier for your family and loved ones if something does happen to you. 

The number one cause of problems in retirement is PROCRASTINATION, Miller says.  Face the world and take action so you can avoid probate and court costs, and minimize attorney fees and leave everything you have worked for to your family and love ones.