Friday, September 9, 2016

Having A Million Dollars In Retirement

Frequently magazine articles are written about how to have a million dollars in retirement.  And, in fact, with some good planning that starts with the first good job at 25 years old, it is really not that hard to do provided there is a willingness to sacrifice for today to live well during retirement.  But even before, don't borrow money to pay for university expenses.   If parents cannot pay for university cost, go to a community college for the first two years and then transfer to the university of your dreams and work your way through school without incurring debt.  It is pretty obvious that no one in the US is going to live the good life on Social Security and Medicare alone assuming they are still around when many young people retire.  Instead, there are some basic things that can be done to get to a million dollars in retirement as follows:

1. One way or another save 10% of annual salary.  If your company provides a 401K match, put in the maximum to the match.  Make sure you have at least 6 months salary in a savings account to cover emergencies.  And, buy insurance to protect you from unexpected losses. 
2. Buy a home at the first opportunity, particularly when mortgage interest rates are low, to take advantage of cheap money.  Pay off a home before retirement so its value can be monetized when you downsize to a smaller home and or cheaper city. 
3.  Keep a new car for at least 10 years.   Studies show that people who lease a car their whole life will have $400,000 less in retirement than if they bought and kept a new car for 10 years.
4.  For employees that travel on business, take advantage of all the airline and hotel programs to gather points for free vacations. 
5.  If you can't do it alone, partner with others to invest in rental properties at the first opportunity. 
6.  Forget about buying the weekly Starbuck's Frapacinos for $5 a cup.  McDonald's coffee for 50 cents, or a buck is just fine. 
7.  Eat in at least 5 nights a week.  Take your lunch to work in a bag.
8. Don't waste too much money on liquor, particularly at bars or restaurants.  If you are going to have an occasional drink, do it at home.  It is safer and cheaper. 
9. Bargain shop.  If it is not on sale at a deep discount, don't buy it.  Forget about all the name brand hype.  A shirt is a shirt. 
10. Splurge on yourself and family once in a while; but not on a regular basis.

If you practice these 10 simple rules, the odds are pretty good, you will end up as a millionaire in retirement.   If not, you are out of luck.