For financial balance, people usually focus on retirement planning and paying off debt. As a Spokane financial advisor with LPL Financial, I've seen many people divert their attention to other financial goals. Therefore it is crucial to have a vision beyond your retirement regardless of age.
1. What Is Your Vision for Your Future?
Our team of Spokane financial advisors reminds others that it's never too early or too late for retirement planning. It's opportunistic to start early if possible and revisit your game plan periodically, ideally every six months. Write down what you expect to see in the future. Here are some of the expected potential outcomes people we've seen:
- Being a homeowner
- Starting a business
- Building an emergency fund
- Creating passive income streams
- Starting a business
- Eliminating debt
- Raising a family
2. Income Consideration
Only a few people begin their careers making six figures or more. By about 25 years old, making around $35,000 is the typical yearly income. You could earn almost $2 million by the time you're ready for retirement if your salary increases follow the historical rate and you have no significant employment gaps.
This sounds like plenty of money. However, it starts to lose its relative value if you factor in what is in your future. For example:
- The current cost of a starter home is from $150,000 to $250,000
- The average student loan debt is $29,800
- The cost of raising a child until 17 years of age is $233,610
These can be contributing factors for people craving to live debt-free and having enough retirement funds. Check out this retirement calculator. It will help provide insights into your ideal retirement age.
3. Creating a Financial Plan
If you're starting to feel discouraged, the good news is that money isn't a static asset. It has the potential to grow and do some of the work for you by creating passive income. People who begin to invest in their future early can better position themselves to pursue their retirement goals. You can employ several different strategies to help your money go further:
- Designate a portion of raises: Instead of increasing living expenses to match any pay increases, try to retain the original budget as much as possible and invest the extra. Keep the same starter home you bought. Drive your present car for as long as possible. The more you can practice delayed gratification and make do with what you have, the more you can save your raises for something more meaningful in your future.
- Start small: Not everyone is making $35,000 per year at age 25. Some people make significantly less throughout their earning years. The answer to this economic problem is to start small. Save $100 per month if you can and $10 per month if you can't. It all adds up significantly when adequately invested. In 10 years, $100 per month at a 6% annual return could potentially grow into $15,996. (This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. The theoretical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees inherent to investing.) Your results will vary.
- Buy wisely: When you purchase a vehicle or buy a home, consider the maintenance cost and tax breaks. For instance, is it better to invest in solar panels than a new sunroom for your home? Likewise, consider the potential tax or economic benefits of a small electric vehicle or hybrid over a new mid-size SUV. Similarly, when buying clothes, does that garment require dry cleaning, or is it something you can self wash? Dry cleaning is expensive and would make any garment challenging to maintain. These proactive buying strategies help you to spend less over the long term.
- Use programs and incentives: There are many financial products and accounts available that could help you invest your money in a tax-efficient manner. These include HSA accounts, 401(k)s, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and 529 college savings plans. Taxes can have a significant impact on passive income. It is crucial to managing their influence over a lifetime. Does your 401(K) have matching on your contributions? If so, it is a great way to give yourself a raise by getting matching funds.
4. Debt Reduction
Avoid letting debt pull you in and becoming the dominant force where your funds get distributed. Learn how to be wise when using debt, with payment terms, interest rates, and the types of debt.
Avoid overdraft and late payments. If you pay your debt off late, it will cost you a lot more than bad credit; it will also cost you a lot in unnecessary fees. Get organized and avoid those debt pitfalls.
However, don't become too obsessed with paying off debt that you neglect your retirement and savings. Pay down that debt as quickly as you can, whenever possible. Review your list of life goals, and it will help you navigate towards your future.
Making sure your retirement numbers align with reality; begins with having a vision beyond retirement. Other financial milestones should be taken into consideration and not have a drag on your retirement funds.
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If you need any assistance with building a comprehensive financial plan so you can focus on building your ideal lifestyle, schedule a free call with us today.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.