Being a Millennial has often meant living with a certain amount of financial uncertainty. You’ve experienced recessions, stock market crashes, and income inequality. Some of the standard milestone assets have also been outside your reach, with only around 39% of Millennials able to afford a downpayment to buy a home.
It’s no wonder a lot of Millennials consider the prospect of retirement to be dubious. However, as you approach your 40s, thinking about eventually moving away from the constant grind of work is likely to be on your mind. While you certainly face more challenges than the generations before you, arranging your retirement is far from impossible. But it takes some commitment and planning.
Let’s review some of the steps you need to take to prepare effectively for retirement.
Make Solid Plans
Trying to approach your retirement by saving piecemeal amounts occasionally is not likely to be successful. You need to create a long-term plan for your retirement goals. This allows you to gain a clear impression of what you want to achieve and how you can work towards getting there.
Understanding more about how retirement saving works and gaining tips for success can have a positive influence on your plans. A vital aspect of this is being honest with yourself about the various obstacles Millennials face around saving and how these feature in your life. Look at what resources you already have at your disposal, like your 401(k). This then allows you to make informed decisions about what you can practically save back or invest.
This process can certainly be overwhelming. As such, it may be worth your time to work with a financial advisor. They can help you to review your income and establish some strategies you can employ to meet your savings goals. In many cases, an advisor can also direct you in identifying relevant investment schemes to make your savings work a little harder for you.
Budgeting is a key to financial independence, but it’s often one of the most challenging aspects of preparing for retirement. It’s not creating a difficult budget, it's sticking to it many people find challenging. But it doesn’t necessarily need to include draconian measures. Rather, you need to be mindful and intentional when applying your budgets.
The 50/30/20 budget is a common approach for those who want to save but also recognize their current quality of life is important. This is where you plan for 50% of your post-tax income to pay for all your necessities. You then have 30% to apply to your small luxuries, nights out, or saving toward vacations. The remaining 20% you can then apply to your savings and investments.
However, this also means you need to keep your budget in mind when making any significant purchasing decisions. When buying a new car, there are a variety of considerations, including how monthly loan payments will impact your plans. But you’ll also need to factor in whether the size and type of car will eat into your expenses through fuel and insurance. Will the maintenance costs put greater pressure on your budget? Being cognizant of what your expenses are will help you to sustain a pleasant lifestyle while saving for the future.
Seek Diverse Income Streams
For many Millennials, part of the issue with preparing for retirement is insufficient income. Let’s face it, wage rates aren’t exactly climbing in line with the cost of living increases. As such, it may be a practical idea to seek diverse income streams.
This isn’t necessarily about taking on a second job. Getting burned out now is not going to help you move positively toward retirement. Rather, explore passive ways to make money on top of your primary job. This may include applying a small amount of your income toward investments you receive regular dividends from. You can then direct these toward your retirement fund. If you’re creative, you may find making YouTube videos or blog posts can gain you advertising revenue you can invest in.
You may find you don’t want to entirely retire later in life. In which case, you could operate occasionally as an expert consultant in your field or take on freelance work. However, this will involve you starting to build your professional profile or freelance brand early on so you can gain enough work to both sustain you and make sure you still get time to enjoy your twilight years.
It’s no secret that a lot of Millennials are concerned it may be financially impractical to retire. However, it is achievable if you start implementing plans and mindful budgeting as early as possible. Take the time to understand the challenges and work with professionals to develop strategies. Diversifying your income can also help you gain additional funds to invest. It can be a daunting prospect, but you have the power to pursue a stable and enjoyable retirement.