Throughout my career, I’ve talked to countless people who sleepwalk through life and have no plan for their financial future. They live in a fantasy land of wishful thinking, assuming the government will take care of them or their kids will step up to the plate.
National Save for Retirement Week is October 18–24. I love taking this opportunity to remind people of one simple truth: Your dreams are your responsibility. If you don’t save and invest now, you won’t have anything to enjoy later.
But what does this look like on a practical level? How in the world do you build wealth when you feel like you’re struggling to keep your head above water? The answer is simple: Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest.
- You can control your spending—Your income is your greatest wealth-building tool. But if you’ve chosen to take on debt, you’re making lenders rich—not yourself! I want you to get out of debt so you can stop paying interest and start earning interest.
- You can control your goal setting—As you save for retirement, you need to aim for a specific number. Check out my free retirement calculator to know exactly how much you need to save for retirement!
- You can control when you start investing—As soon as you’re out of consumer debt (except for the mortgage), you should invest 15 percent of your gross income for retirement. The earlier, the better. You want the power of compound interest on your side!
- You can control your portfolio—You get to decide the type of account and the types of funds you invest in. Now, you can’t control how those funds perform, but you can choose funds that have a solid track record of beating the market. Start investing with a tax-favored account, like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA, and choose a diverse mix of growth stock mutual funds within that account.
- You can control how much you invest—One of the myths people believe about investing is that they need a lot of money to get started. Nope! Let’s say you just invested $200 a month from age 30 to age 70. At a 11 percent annual growth rate, that would add up to over $1.7 million dollars!