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Retirement - Without Debt

For many Americans, retiring is a fuzzy concept - far off in the future, and often out of mind. Retiring is something we're all hopeful about, but not necessarily thinking of today. Raising a family, keeping up with the mortgage and car payments and just making a living can all obscure our views of retirement, and give us an easy excuse to "deal with it later." The result of this lack of foresight, once we reach retirement age, can be very disastrous. No one wants to spend their golden years managing heavy debt and constantly holding back from spending what little savings is available. When things get really tough, some people may even have to return to work, even when they would prefer not to. The answer to this dilemma, however, is quite simple: start planning today. No matter if you're as young as 20 years old, or as old as 50, you can never start planning for your retirement too soon.

Get Started On Your Retirement Today!

A good way to begin planning how you would like your retirement to be is to determine what age exactly you would like to retire. Think 45 is doable? You'd better have an aggressive savings plan in effect. Trying 60? Use 401K plans and IRAs to ensure you can gain as much in the way of tax savings as you can. And, while we're looking at age, consider making an estimate of your life expectancy. Although it is a rather grim measure (no one wants to die, obviously), there are charts available that show you how long you should expect your retirement funds to last, which will of course determine how much you will need.

Some Important Investment Tips

When looking at your investments to determine how much money you will have when you retire, don't forget to factor in inflation (read more about retirement and inflation here). This is a concept many people forget about, but is certainly the most important one to consider. Remember that the $1000 you have saved today will not be worth the same in 15 or 20 years. There are a number of calculators which include inflation in them, and they are worth using.

Another critical point when investing is to consider your risk tolerance, which technically should move to a lower level as you age. If you are quite young, you should definitely be considering riskier investments such as stocks and stock mutual funds. This will ensure you maximize returns, and even if you do experience losses, there will be plenty of time to recover from them. Alternatively, if you are very close to retirement, you should probably move towards more conservative investments, such as bond funds and bonds. Monitoring this throughout your life is a good way to ensure your retirement is a debt free one.

Budgeting Makes Retirement Easy

By completely re-looking at your finances now, including ensuring you are budgeting, paying off debt before savings, and cutting back on "luxury spending", you are putting yourself on a superb path to retirement. All it takes is small changes, each of which will make planning for your retirement that much easier. And the more prepared you are, the better your retirement will be.

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