It’s really important to start planning from early. Oh yes, we know: when you’re young, you’re invincible, right? WRONG! We will all get old. That’s a solid fact. So, plan from as early as possible. If your job doesn’t offer a retirement plan, direct some of your funds to a retirement planning account. You’d be surprised that many plans available today aren’t that expensive. And the earlier you begin, the cheaper it is for you. Start with at least 5% of your earnings and then work your way up to 15% so that you can save for a happy retirement.
Sometimes, we may think that retirement means golfing, chilling or relaxing somewhere on perpetual vacation. We’ve found that – across the Caribbean – many people were not prepared for retirement, since there is no longer a steady flow of income at the end of each month. So, even if you get national benefits, that money would be nowhere near what you’ve been accustomed to, all your working life! This is why a Retirement Savings Fund (available at almost all credit unions) is very important. Don’t think that the Government will automatically give you money when you are retired. In many countries, National Insurance or funding for senior citizens is contributory. This means that if you work for yourself, you must be registered and actually contribute during your working life in order to receive money when you are retired on a monthly basis. Even so, this money would be nowhere near to the amount you received while you were working. It would only be a fraction of what your salary used to be. You will not be able to survive at your current standard of living with just that sum of money alone. A Registered Retirement Savings Plan allows you to save more towards your retirement.
Choose your partner wisely! In matters of the heart, it’s almost impossible to reason, but when looking for a mate, ensure that their values are as close as possible to yours, especially when it comes to money. If you have a big spender on your hands, it will be tough to save well for your retirement. If you’re serious about the other person, have a heart-to-heart talk with them about money and planning for your future.
Stay away from the credit cards! Credit card debt is one of the unhealthiest debts you can get yourself into. It is your future earnings that will be paying for your credit. Remember that. So, the less future earnings you have, the more difficult it is to save for retirement.
Look all around you. Ask any retired person you know: if you know what you know now about money, what would you do differently? The answers may surprise you!