Retirement is something we all should be thinking about, no matter your age or stage of your career. In fact, most financial experts say you should start saving for retirement in your mid-twenties. Regardless of what age you plan to retire or how many years you have until then, here are some tips to help you live more comfortably in retirement when the time finally does come.
Create an accurate spending record
The only way to know where you need to improve and what areas you’re living excessively in are to have a brutally honest account of every dollar you spend. Track everything for a month, from your mortgage to the pack of gum at the quick-stop. Write it all down, categorize it, and see if you can sustain that lifestyle on a fixed income.
Save and invest more
If you can’t maintain the same lifestyle, then it’s time to start saving more. Instead of buying an extra pair of shoes, or 200 more television channels you don’t really need, put that money into a high-yield savings account, or better yet, invest it in low-risk stocks and bonds.
Simplify your life
Chances are you have a lot of old stuff lying around your house that you haven’t used, let alone thought of, in ages. Do a massive spring cleaning and learn what you don’t need anymore that you thought you did a few years ago. In the process, you can sell those old items and put that cash into more investments.
Most of the time, our definition of luxury is the one that’s fed to us through commercials and advertisements. You know why that’s silly? It’s because those resorts, those trips, and those items are luxury for people much wealthier than you. Average, middle-class folks shouldn’t be expected to have the same definition of luxury as the ultra wealthy. Instead of saving up for years trying to afford something way beyond your means, redefine what luxury means and still have an amazing trip with something more reasonable.
If you live in a city where public transportation is readily available, driving less or even not at all will result in so much more savings. In the U.S., the Department of Transportation estimated that a family would save more than they spend on food for an entire year if they replaced driving with public transportation. Not only is this a money-saving exercise, but it will help you stay fit and healthy later into your life.
Save what you save
Doing any or all of the above will no doubt save you money. The trick is to keep it as savings and not treat it like newfound, unexpected income that should be blown right away. Start seeing money as having a greater purpose later in life rather than serving current desires.