The big misconception is that you need to be at a predetermined financial checkpoint at specific points in your life to ensure that retirement is a smooth transition. Well crafted radio and television advertisements from investment companies, the recent recession, and the fluctuations in your personal investment/retirement accounts over the past 5 years probably haven’t helped alleviate your stress either. Don’t freak out. Again, DO NOT freak out. If you get starteddoing something, you’ll be better off when you retire.
There are a few very general keys to any successful retirement plan. You might even say to yourself, “I already know this”. If you are actually taking the following steps, you will freak out a lot less.
Locate your current or old retirement plan(s): 401(k), 403(b), Thrift Savings, etc.
Determine how much you are willing to commit to yourself regularly: $10, $100, $500/month.
Make sure your paycheck is automatically deducted every time you get paid so you don’t have to think about it. You’ll learn to work with your direct deposit amount and your retirement savings will accumulate much faster than you think.
Take a look at your balance every now and then keeping in mind that you’re not retiring tomorrow. Remember that it’s a marathon not a sprint. As the savings add up and you’re better able to, slowly increase your commitment to yourself/your retirement.
Jermaine Johnson is a financial adviser with 9 years of experience working with some of the top firms on Wall Street. He specializes in education and retirement planning. You can here more with Jermaine on a recent episode of the Midday Money Show.