Do you look forward to retirement as splendid golden years with ample time to enjoy leisure activities and live life at a slower pace? If so, what are you doing today to make sure that your dream becomes reality? Or are you actually sabotaging your future by spending too much, not saving enough or indulging bad habits?
Spending Too Much
Most people spend too much at one time or another – buying things they don’t really need, unnecessarily upgrading the things they already have, using credit to buy now and pay later, squandering their tomorrows on entertainment today, etc.
If you’ve been spending too much, don’t bother kicking yourself over your past poor spending decisions. Instead, take the first step toward securing your financial future by reigning in your unnecessary spending. Look for ways to cut your daily and monthly expenses. Carefully consider all purchasing decisions and never buy on impulse. Quit using credit and pay for everything in cash.
Not Saving Enough
Your financial comfort during retirement is totally up to you and the sooner you start saving, the better. Yes, you may get Social Security. But will it be enough to live comfortably? Probably not. If you’re extremely lucky, you may even be covered by a pension plan. Whatever your circumstance, you must take personal responsibility to make sure that you have enough money for the retirement lifestyle that you envision.
If you have a 401k plan at work, contribute at least to the level that your employer will match. If you don’t have a 401k available, contribute to an IRA account each month. If possible, do both! And start now. Today. And if you can’t contribute much, don’t be discouraged. Keep in mind that even small contributions add up over time.
Indulging Bad Habits
From a retirement planning standpoint, smoking and drinking top the list of bad habits to quit. Not only is smoking expensive now, if you don’t quit, you’ll most likely have significantly higher medical costs later. Depending on your level of consumption, drinking may or may not damage your health, but there’s no denying that alcohol is expensive and will damage your finances.
What bad habits are costing you money? Do you gamble? Do you use drugs recreationally? Are you a shopaholic? Examine your life and find expensive habits to break. Put the money you save toward your retirement. This may not sound like a lot of fun but later on, you will be so glad that you did!
The Time is NOW
If you recognized yourself in any of the above, you need to take action NOW. Remember the old saying “actions speak louder than words.” Quit sabotaging your retirement and take steps today to secure your future!
Crystal Marie lives by the philosophy that needing less rather than earning more is the key to happiness and financial serenity, which allowed her to “retire” from formal employment in health education at the age of 44. She can be found making the most of the second half on her blog, The Best 50 Years.