Retirement plan takes time, discipline

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The Standard & Poor 500 Index fell just short of setting another record close on Wall Street Wednesday. That would have marked the 25th all-time high benchmark in 2014 alone.

There will be those who will roll their eyes and mutter, “Great. The rich keep getting richer. How about some good news for real people for a change?”

But the happenings of the markets aren’t just for the weatlhy any more. If you work for a company that offers a 401(k) plan, taking an interest in the ups and downs of Wall Street has a meaningful impact on your hopes for retirement.

And believe it or not, it doesn’t take a lot of money to make money. The key to retirement savings is time – especially if you’re still in your twenties or thirties. Sacrificing by putting even a little bit of your paycheck in a 401(k) every two weeks can add up to real money in the long haul. Just be consistent and disciplined.

More and more Americans are discovering that, but a disturbing story in USA Today this week still shows a big gap between those who are preparing for retirement one day and those who aren’t. About a third of all Americans have no money saved toward retirement at all, a new survey says.

Many of them probably face extenuating circumstances – long periods of unemployment, perhaps, or a debilitating illness. But for those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs, it’s up to us to make our own luck. That starts with a retirement savings plan.

Economists say a market “correction” – meaning a drop in stock prices of 10 percent or more – is likely. The bull market can’t run forever.

A price drop is uncomfortable for those of us already in the market. But it represents a real opportunity for newcomers.


retirement planning and investing

The key is to start saving/investing early in life and be consistent (save with every paycheck). Taking advantage of a matching 401k plan should be a no brainer. The power of compounding is lost on many people. Maxing out contributions when possible, eliminating debt, avoiding risks with your nest egg, planning for multiple streams of income once retired (social security, pensions, dividends, part time work, etc.) and making catch up contributions once you reach 50 should all be part of everyone's plan. I recently found the site Retirement And Good Living which provides information on all these issues as well as finances, health, retirement locations, part time work and also has a great blog of guest posts about a variety of retirement topics.

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