Stressed out about your retirement fund?  Trust me, you are not alone in that.  Given the tenuous times that we live in, it seems like pretty much everyone is starting to grow concerned about the state of their savings accounts as they look ahead to their golden years.

After all, is retirement not supposed to be one of the best times of our lives?  We can finally stop the constant grind of working and instead take time to relax and enjoy our well-earned free time.  Unfortunately, this can be kind of hard to do if we are constantly worrying about whether or not we will have funds left to sustain our current lifestyle.  

Of course, it is for this reason that I come to you today with some tips and tricks to keep in mind moving forward.  After all, this is a rather complex issue to delve into.  This begs the question, though, what are we supposed to do right now?  Do not worry – I will be doing a deep dive into several of the moves that you may want to make to prepare yourself for your post-working years.

Checklist – Yay or Nay?

Before I get started, I want to talk about whether we should use checklists to help us prepare or whether it is a waste of time.  Honestly, it is hard to say.  However, I think that the main think to keep in mind is that it will work for some people, and it won’t work for others.  As long as you take the list with a grain of salt and do not adhere to it no matter the extenuating circumstances, you should be more than fine.

How to Prepare

Wondering why on earth I mentioned checklists?  Well, beyond offering up a resource like this one, https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/401ks/articles/steps-to-take-when-preparing-for-retirement, I also am going to be formatting this guide in the form of a checklist.  Remember, though – use it as a base structure rather than take it as gospel.

At the end of the day, the most important thing will be that you have a plan at all.  Feel free to mix and match the advice that I am offering here and to change the order in which you do them.  As long as you are getting yourself ready for your retirement, then you are doing something right!

One: Create a 401(k) Plan and Contribute to it

Something that you will want to keep in mind with this first step is that not everyone will qualify for a plan like this.  You see, only those who are employed by an employer who offers them will be eligible.  With that out of the way, I want to highlight just how important it is to take advantage of such a resource if it is available to you.

What is a 401(k) plan?  To put it simply, it is a savings account intended for retirement that both you and your employer will contribute to.  Typically, an agreement of the amount from each party is decided upon when you are first hired.  If you cannot remember what you agreed upon, though, you can usually touch base with your employer or look back at your hiring contract to see what it was.

You decide on a certain percentage of your paycheck that you want to contribute to the account each time that you get paid.  In turn, your employer matches that amount to a certain percentage.  Normally it is not a one-hundred percent match, although that would certainly be nice, wouldn’t it?

Two: Forge Your Investment Portfolio

For some of my readers, you have already started to do this.  There are a few key components to keep in mind, of course – mostly that you should not put all of your money into one specific company or market.  Websites like the Bonds Online one gives some details on why this is the case, but the basics of it is that if that particular industry has a market crash, you will be left without a backup plan.

Perhaps that is why most financial experts and analysts recommend spreading your money out into a few different avenues.  What are some to consider, then?  As you can probably imagine, there are plenty to choose between, so it will be up to your personal discretion.  Still, I will provide you with some examples.

Stocks and bonds are probably what most people think of when you mention “investing” to them.  After all, the Stock Exchange is the most famous hub for it in the world.  It is only natural that our minds drift to it.

However, I will say that they have become a bit less trendy in recent years.  Part of it is likely due to the covid 19 pandemic – it reduced people’s trust in anything backed by the government to any extent.  That is why bonds (which are literally a loan to the federal government) are losing their traction as well.

Instead, a lot of folks are gravitating towards alternate styles of assets.  Today, I will focus on precious metals, since I think that they tick both boxes of traditional and trendy.  Allow me to explain.

Gold, silver, palladium, and platinum are all considered to fall under the umbrella term of precious metals.  They are a common investment because of their usefulness in manufacturing of electronics and other consumer goods like jewelry – this means that their value is highly unlikely to significantly deplete even over long stretches of time.  How do they check both boxes, then?

Well, because they are used in things like making cars emit less greenhouse gasses, they can be seen as a fairly “modern” feeling asset.  Yet, at the same time, they have been highly sought-after goods for centuries, allowing them to rest comfortably in the traditional side of things as well.  Pretty much anyone can dip their toes into this market without having to worry too much.

Three: Remember the Emotional Aspect, as well

It is hardly a coincidence or an accident that I have spent most of our time here today discussing the financial aspects of retiring.  However, while that is an incredibly important aspect of it, I would also like to discuss some of the more “human” facets to it as well.  While it is easy to forget that it will have an emotional impact on us, that really is the case.

Some examples of what to be watching for can be found in this blog.  Just remember that it is going to be normal to be apprehensive or to feel lost and/or without purpose for the first few years of your retirement.  Adjusting to life without working can be a huge and somewhat shocking change.

An option there might be to get a part-time job during this time of your life.  Obviously, not everyone will find that appealing.  However, it can serve a few purposes.  For one thing, it will keep you occupied.  In addition to that, though, it will also help to bolster your everyday funds and allow you to splurge more often.

Four: Avoid Giving into Fear

One thing that the news cycle has done in this country is instill fear into the hearts of many a retiree or near-retiree.  Panicked broadcasts about how the market is going to crash and how every single dollar in your bank account is going to be worthless are probably a bit exaggerated.  It is important to keep yourself grounded and not to give into the fearmongering that we are experiencing so much right now.

I know that it can be hard.  There is no shame in a healthy dose of concern or worry, of course.  What matters is that you do not let it rule over your entire life.  Employing some of the strategies that I have mentioned above can help you with this, though.

Planning ahead is a great way to remind yourself that hope is not lost when it comes to your retirement and the funding of it.  Sure, it can be hard to turn our brains off in that respect.  However, at the end of the day it will certainly be worth the trouble.  Sleeping easy at night is a cherished gift and strategizing financially is one way that you can achieve that.

Final Considerations?

Of course, some things did not quite make it onto this list that you should probably at least look into.  IRAs or individual retirement arrangements are one of them.  Do some of your own digging to learn more about them, as they can have a pretty big impact on your retirement life.  Some of the sources that I linked above contain information about them.

Given all of these tools to proceed, you should be able to start formulating your own plan moving forward.  With this article as a guide and the rest of the world’s information right at your fingertips, you have a leg up on life for sure!  Use this knowledge well and prepare yourself for your golden years!

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