Retirement is a difficult subject for younger generations. The entire concept seems a bit foggy and out of focus. For someone who has recently begun a career, planning a vacation or the next date is more exciting. Saving is challenging when there are student loans to pay and graduate school begins soon. Planning for a stage of life 40 years away may seem tiresome for couples who recently purchased a home or began building a family.

With all these things on the minds of millennials, the number 2 financial concern for the generation continues to be saving for retirement. Enduring two major bear stock markets, the crash of 2008 and the Black Swan of COVID-19, has done nothing to build confidence in the future. With sky high debt and whipsawing markets, it is little wonder that some want to forget the future and chase happiness on a scooter!

No matter how great the obstacles hindering you from planning for retirement may be, if retirement is not on one of the front burners of your financial stove, it needs to be! No matter how critical the present global coronavirus pandemic appears, we all need to be executing a plan for the long-term future. If you have 30 to 40 years to go, this is the PERFECT time to build and implement a plan. If you have 20 to 30 years to go, there is no better time than the present to get started.

Here are a few tips from grey haired folks with years of experience who may, or may not have, always heeded the advice.

  1. Get started saving today! Never forget that time IS money. We know all about the burden of debt, and how it seems strange to try to save when the bills are high. Beginning with saving $62.50 per month can build a lifetime retirement income of $800 per month at age 65. Enroll in whatever retirement plan your employer has available. Waiting “just a little while for things to get easier,” will never produce your dreams.
  2. Choose the most efficient way to pay off debt that fits you and your family. There are several plans available to help. Whether you think the “debt snowball,” “the debt shredder,” or some other plan is better, choose one and put it to work. Commit yourself and your family to getting out of debt!
  3. Focus on growing your family’s financial nest egg. True financial freedom will never be known without the blessing of spiritual freedom through God’s grace, but our family’s financial security should never be taken for granted. Build wealth throughout life that can be used now. Having non-retirement account assets will help provide freedom and flexibility on how money is used.
  4. Don’t be boring, but don’t only swing for homeruns! There will be a wealth of stories you will encounter about people who “struck it rich” with one investment. The better choice in life is to build wealth over time. Maintain an investment allocation that you can live with and sleep with. There are very efficient index funds available. There are also well managed, efficiently priced investment funds from which you can profit. Stock picking, market timing, and options trading may sound exciting, but these are generally areas to avoid.
  5. Stay calm when others are losing their caution or their courage! Too many individual investors grow overconfident when markets rise and grow panicky when markets fall. No one knows who actually said, “In bear markets, stocks return to their rightful owners,” but these words remind us to be calm when market values decrease. We do know that Warren Buffet said, “Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.”

These bits of advice are not the only things you need to learn. They can serve as a foundation upon which to build your knowledge of personal investing. Remember this, the future will always seem far away and quite confusing. The present will always seem compelling and critical. If retirement is not on one of the front burners of your financial stove, it needs to be!

Here is to living financially free and pursuing your passions!