Guest Blogger: Akaisha Kaderli
Getting your house in order for retirement or financial independence is not that difficult. Many investment professionals, journalists, and commentators seem to complicate the issue to the point that even we can’t understand it. Safe withdrawal rates, stocks, bonds, balanced funds, commodities, options, laddered portfolios, annuities, offshore accounts, hedge funds … are you kidding? No wonder some people are confused and scared!
What’s A Person To Do?
First, you need to recognize your needs. Let’s be realistic here. How much are you spending now? Not how much do you make a year, but how much are you paying out? With today’s computer tools, this is a very easy task to compute. Or you can do what we did: Create a chart on a piece of paper and add to it daily.
|Date||Cumulative spending||Day#||Cost/p/day||Times 365|
(These figures are for illustrative purposes only.)
The longer you keep track of current consumption, the more confident you’ll become of your future spending habits.
Once you know your expenditures per year, take a look at where that money is going. If it’s to pay credit card bills or other consumer debt, you need to pay that off first. It’s fine to use credit cards as long as you completely pay off your balance monthly. And, stay out of debt. I know this is not easy, but it’s your future, and the money you were paying in interest can now be invested.
With your debts paid off, you can commit to financial independence. Analysts say a guideline of 25 times your annual capital outlay should be enough to sustain your current lifestyle. With the data you’ve collected in your chart, you can easily calculate a target amount. It’s really that simple.
How Do You Get There?
Only you know what your risk tolerance is, but have some faith in yourself. Learn about no-load mutual funds, and low cost ETF’s, and become your own financial advisor. You can do this. Remember, it’s not how complicated your investments are, it’s how well they perform and whether you understand them.
You’ve managed your finances for 30 to 40 years already, right? You maybe weren’t perfect, but you’re still here! So do you not think that you can manage your finances for the next several decades? Even though you will no longer have that paycheck coming on Friday, there are many ways to pay yourself each week. You could simply write yourself a check each Friday, or have automatic withdrawals transferred into your checking account.
So start today. Get your consumer debts paid off completely, educate yourself on investment opportunities that you understand, and take control of your future. Dream of financial independence and let that motivate you.
You can do it!