Most of us would like to retire someday. Sure, work can be rewarding, but it won’t always feel easy (maybe it already doesn’t), and we deserve a well-earned rest after a long and successful stint in the working world.
Unfortunately, retirement is not something that is guaranteed to each of us — we have to earn it. Over the course of our lives, we’ll make decisions at work and at home that form the foundation of our comfortable retirement. In time, we’ll get there!
But the route can certainly be confusing. Let’s take some of the mystery out of it. Here’s the story of how you’ll reach retirement, told one action at a time. Here are the things you’ll need to do and the choices you’ll need to make in order to secure the retirement that you deserve.
You’ll work hard and build a stable career
Hard work will get you far in life, but building a career isn’t just about working hard — it’s about working smart. You have to find a path forward that helps you balance your work and your life, increase your earning power over time, and provide you with enough job security to keep your personal finances stable.
Job security isn’t always easy to come by, but you’ll have a better chance of achieving it if you develop specialized skills that make you hard to replace. Take court reporting, for instance. Experts who employ court reporters in Florida tell us that the pros they hire have a great deal of job security, because not everyone can handle this sort of work.
Court reporters (also called stenographers) have to record everything being said in legal proceedings. That means typing fast on a specialized typewriter called a stenotype. The equipment costs money, and so does the requisite training — and not everyone makes it. But those who do gain an important and stable career.
You don’t have to become a court reporter specifically, but you do need specialized experience which makes you irreplaceable in the workplace.
You’ll budget and save money
No matter how much money you make, it is always possible to spend too much — just ask any of the many famous athletes and musicians who have managed to go broke despite massive career earnings. In order to build a nest egg for retirement, you need to set a budget and stick to it!
You have to evaluate your earnings and your expenses, separate the essential from the luxuries, and keep careful track of where your money goes and why. In time, you’ll save up enough to start using it wisely to grow your net worth.
You’ll buy your home and buy stocks
Money is important, but it’s only as good as what you do with it. If you pay rent month after month forever, you’ll waste money; if you keep your cash under your bed, inflation will destroy the value of your hard-earned money. You have to be smart about what you do with your carefully saved money.
Sometimes, this will mean taking out debt. There is “good debt” and “bad debt” out there, and while you want to be smart about avoiding things like credit card debt and payday loans, you can and should consider a mortgage or home loan.
The lowest home loan rates are a whole lot lower than credit card interest rates, and they’ll help you acquire a valuable property and, eventually, stop having to make monthly payments in exchange for a place to live.
Another smart long-term move is to invest. In fact, you’ll have a very hard time growing enough wealth to retire on unless you invest in the stock market. While you should be wary of risky moves, a simple and relatively conservative investment strategy is exactly the sort of thing that you want to use to grow your net worth.
In time, compound interest will grow your savings and make your dream retirement possible.