Thinking about and planning for retirement and retirement income when you are still finding your place in the workforce can be quite difficult. Some of us may be feeling as if we are just now settling in on the type of work we would like to do for an extended period of time. Others who have chosen the entrepreneurial route may have finally secured the sources of income needed to sustain their everyday living.
Let our mommas tell it, we are still young and can make up for any lapses that may have in our retirement accounts. Whatever our circumstances may be with having to deal with issues such as: (a) finding our lanes and purpose in the workplace, (b) recovering from the recession, as well as (c) changing our lifestyles with new jobs, marriages and/or children, we must get serious about saving for retirement and allowing our savings to make money for us.
Here are five tips for saving for retirement, and making your money work for you:
1) Have an Emergency Fund
Yea, so when I lost my job (which one you may ask, as I have lost several), I did not have a tremendous amount of money saved to last me for months until I got something else. Thanks to faith, having a home large enough to bring in roommates and the generosity of family members, I was able to get through that period of time until the next gig came, but my peace of mind would have been so much greater had I already stashed away money for a rainy day. Nobody expects to be laid off, or face an illness that may cause them to be out of work without pay for an extended period of time, so having an emergency fund may allow you to keep up with everyday expenses without having to touch your retirement account and sell off investments.
2) Think Long Term
Life after retirement is much longer these days thanks to advances in medicine and health care. Keep in mind how much you will need to maintain your lifestyle and expenses well into your golden years. Additionally, being able to defer drawing on your Social Security payments will allow your benefits to grow approximately 8% per year for every year you delay.
3) Get Debt Free
I once had a mindset that there was good debt and bad debt. Yea, this may be the case, but debt is debt. One strategy that will prove beneficial for holding on to your retirement savings is not having to pay off any debts, including your mortgage. This way you will also be able to use retirement funds for everyday expenses.
4) Be Mindful of Tax Implications
If your retirement income in a 401(k) pre-tax account, taxes will only have to be paid if you withdraw whatever is saved in such account. However, if you are simply saving money in taxable accounts, you may not be getting the best bang for your buck as you will not be taking advantage of tax free benefits that will help save money.
5) Start Now
Yes, you just graduated college or grad school. You are excited to finally be able to purchase those expensive shoes that hurt like hell, and spring for dinner and drinks at the new, over-priced restaurant downtown, but here is a word for you…DON’T! Start being mindful of what you are spending, and what you are saving. You don’t want to look up ten years from now and realize you have made horrible financial decisions, even if it isn’t too late to start over. Start now!
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.