6 Ways to Keep Your Dream Retirement on Track

6 Ways to Keep Your Dream Retirement on Track

Are you a retirement “do-it-yourselfer,” convinced you can plan for your own retirement without paying for a financial adviser? That’s all well and good, but given that money managers work with people in a variety of financial situations, their experiences with the problems that prevent people from retiring can offer insights into how to overcome those challenges.

I spoke to a few experts to find out how they handle that difficult situation: a client who wants to retire but whose financial picture suggests she shouldn’t yet do so.

But sometimes people don’t show up at the adviser’s office until they’re eager to leave the workforce for good. In those cases, she said, advisers sometimes are forced to deliver bad news.

“We just had that situation with an individual and his wife,” Skeans said. “He’s thinking about retiring in two to three years. It was very obvious to me when I looked at his balance sheet, coupled with what I backed out as to their spending, that if they retired immediately they would put themselves into a precarious situation.”

One red flag was that this couple hadn’t accounted for their retirement tax bill. “All of their assets were in tax-deferred accounts,” Skeans said. “Every dollar they spend is going to be a dollar plus the taxes. That means, if you’re trying to support a standard of living after tax, you’re going to have to gross that money up.”

So, one lesson is to remember that the government is going to take a bite out of your retirement account. Here are more lessons financial advisers say they’ve been forced to teach new clients:

  1. Be disciplined about a budget

In 2008, Skeans said, a client who was about 64 years old was laid off. “He decided he wasn’t going to look for other work,” she said. “We ran the projection. Obviously, at that point in time the portfolios were down because of the market and I was deeply concerned.

“Fortunately the guy was a finance guy, a controller for a small company. He heard us loud and clear that the biggest thing he and his wife needed to do was stay within a budget,” she said.

At the time, Skeans talked with the couple about how to stabilize their finances through reduced spending. “He was very adamant he did not want to go back to work,” she said. “We were able to help him and his wife structure a budget and they have stuck to it and continue to do so.”

And now? “Eight years later, their portfolio is just slightly below where it was eight years ago,” Skeans said. Imjustsayin.net

  1. Take a practice run

People sometimes underestimate what they’ll spend in retirement, especially in the early years when they suddenly find themselves with plenty of free time and energy, said Tripp Yates, a wealth strategist at Waddell & Associates in Memphis, Tenn.

“I’ve seen it where people do a budget for retirement and they tell me, ‘OK, we’ve done all the numbers and we can live off $50,000 a year,’” Yates said. Too often, that’s a bare-bones budget that doesn’t take into account travel and other activities. “The first five to 10 years of retirement, people are probably going to spend more rather than less, because they’re in fairly good health and want to enjoy that time,” he said.

One way to get a good handle on your spending is to test-run your retirement budget, he said. In one recent conversation with a couple, he told them: “Maybe one spouse who really wants to retire can. The other spouse continues working and maybe we take six months to a year and try to live on that budget, practice, see if it’s actually doable before both husband and wife call it retirement,” Yates said.

  1. Don’t focus on the market

Given the media’s attention on the market’s every move, it’s no surprise that people seeking help from an adviser often fret about what happen next. That’s the wrong focus, said Robert Klein, president of the Retirement Income Center in Newport Beach, Calif. (Klein is also a writer for MarketWatch’s RetireMentor section.)

“People read so much in the media about performance and that’s naturally their focus until you show them on paper it’s all about your goals and planning for those and controlling what you can control,” he said. While investors must make sure their investments are diversified, there’s no way of knowing when the market might take another steep plunge.

“You have to control what you can control and develop prudent strategies that are going to work no matter what the market does,” Klein said.

  1. Be clear about your goals

Retirement planning is about more than “just having X dollars in income,” Klein said. Figure out what you want retirement to look like, and then work from that. “It’s about a lifestyle in retirement. What are they going to be doing day-to-day in retirement?” he said. “Then you can focus on the finances: ‘What is it going to take so I can do that?’”

For some people, a hard look at a retirement lifestyle leads them to choose to work longer, Klein said. “A lot of people are better off working longer even if they can afford to retire. They just don’t have the hobbies. It’s a whole different routine when you retire,” he said. “Phased retirement is really good for a lot of those people, so they can take baby steps into retirement,” he added.

  1. Use software that provides a picture

If you’re planning your own retirement, are you using financial software that will create projections as a chart? “Most people don’t communicate with numbers, they communicate pictorially,” said Kimberly Foss, founder of Empyrion Wealth Management Inc. in Roseville, Calif.

Foss said she shows clients a simple chart depicting how long their money is likely to last if they retire now. In some cases, she might produce a second chart that shows how spending less might make their outlook improve, and then talk with the client about options, such as downsizing the house or refinancing, working longer or delaying the purchase of a new car.

For one couple, seeing those pictures and having that discussion made all the difference, Foss said. They wanted to spend the same amount of money in retirement that they’d been spending while they worked, but the size of their savings account didn’t support that goal. So, they switched from the country club to a lower-cost health club, refinanced into a cheaper mortgage and started cooking at home more rather than eating out. Check out other tips and tricks on Neotangkas.

Reducing those costs and others preserved their portfolio for the long haul. Said Foss: “It created the income so that they could retire.”

  1. Get real with your adult children

In some cases, people retire but unforeseen expenses put their financial security at risk. Skeans said one client unexpectedly found herself supporting her adult daughter and grandson, who live in her home, even as she herself recently entered a care facility.

“She’s taken out enormous amounts of money to help her daughter and grandson,” Skeans said. “She’s supporting their household and she’s paying the cost of assisted living. I said, ‘If you continue at this pace, this portfolio is going to be gone in five years.’”

Skeans said if the client sells her home—that is, asks her daughter to find her own place—that money would bolster her finances. “She should be able to make it and still leave something to this daughter in the end,” Skeans said. “She said, ‘I’m going to talk to my daughter about that.’”

The Single Most Effective Way to Get Rich

The Single Most Effective Way to Get Rich

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert about personal finance to get rich.

You don’t need to use fancy economic jargon or know this year’s „hottest stock.” You don’t have to come from an affluent family, and you don’t even have to earn a massive W88 paycheck.

For most people, it all boils down to one thing: investing.

“On average, millionaires invest 20% of their household income each year. Their wealth isn’t measured by the amount they make each year, but by how they’ve saved and invested over time,” writes Ramit Sethi in his New York Times bestseller, „I Will Teach You To Be Rich.”

“In other words, a project manager could earn $50,000 per year and be richer than a doctor earning $250,000 per year — if the project manager has a higher net worth by saving and investing more over time.”

Sethi gives an example of the power of investing just $10 per week:

After five years (assuming an average 8% return), you would have $3,295, and after 10 years, you would have $8,136. And that comes from simply setting aside a little over a dollar a day.

Putting away $50 a week would result in $16,473 after five years and $40,678 after 10 years. Imagine how much money would accumulate if you set aside a bit more each week, and did that for several years.

The earlier you start, the better.

This chart from JP Morgan Asset Management, which shows the power of taking advantage of compound interest from an early age, explains why it’s so important to get started now and invest consistently, even if you think you don’t have enough money to make a difference:

You don’t need to be rich to invest, yet so many of us fail to get started managing our money because we’re intimidated or don’t know where to start. Fear of losing money is also a common concern: „That’s fair,” writes Sethi, „Especially after market losses during the global financial crisis, but you need to take a long-term view. Despite wild rides in the stock market, with a long term perspective, the best thing you can do is start investing early.”

Investing is not as complicated or daunting as we make it out to be. The simplest starting point is to invest in your employer’s 401(k) plan; make sure to take full advantage of your company’s 401(k) match if they offer one. Get the chance to have a dream car at Toyota Makassar.

Next, consider contributing money towards a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, individual retirement accounts with different contribution limits and tax structures (which one you can use depends on your income). If you still have money left over and are hungry to continue investing, you can research low-cost index funds, which Warren Buffett recommends, and look into the online investment platforms known as „robo-advisers.”

Napoleon Hill’s Principles of Success

Napoleon Hill’s Principles of Success

Develop Definiteness of Purpose

Success and progress towards achieving your goals in life begin with knowing where you are going. Any dominating idea, plan, or purpose held in your conscious mind through repeated effort and emotionalized by a burning desire for its realization is taken over by the subconscious and acted upon through whatever natural and logical means may be available. Your mental attitude gives power to everything you do. If your attitude is positive, your actions and thoughts further your ends. If your attitude is negative, you are constantly undermining your own efforts. The starting point of all human achievement is the development of a Definite Major Purpose. Without a definite major purpose, you are as helpless as a ship without a compass.

Establish a Mastermind Alliance

A mastermind alliance consists of two or more minds working actively together in perfect harmony toward a common definite objective. Through a mastermind alliance you can appropriate and use the full strength of the experience, training, and knowledge of others just as if they were your own. No individual has ever achieved success without the help and cooperation of others. The value of „gathering together those of a like mind” is self-evident. A group of brains coordinated in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery,

Assemble an Attractive Personality

A Positive Mental Attitude is the right mental attitude in any given situation. Courtesy is your most profitable asset… and it is absolutely free! Emotions are nothing but reflections of your mental attitude, which you can organize, guide, and completely control. Your personality is your greatest asset or your greatest liability because it embraces everything you control …your mind, body, and soul. To be happy, make someone else happy!

Use Applied Faith

Faith is awareness of, belief in, and harmonizing with the universal powers. Faith is a state of mind which must be active not passive, to be useful in achieving lasting success. Close the door to fear behind you and you will quickly see the door of faith open before you. Fear is nothing more than a state of mind, which is subject to your own direction and control. Faith will not bring you what you desire, but it will show you the way to go after it for yourself at W88cash.

Go the Extra Mile

Strength and struggle go hand in hand. Render more and better service than you are paid for, and sooner or later you will receive compound interest from your investment. The end of the rainbow is at the end of the second mile. The quality of the service rendered, plus the quantity of service rendered, plus the mental attitude in which it is rendered, equals your compensation. The more you give, the more you get.

Control Your Attention

Keep your mind ON the things you want and OFF the things you don’t want! It is much easier to focus your attention on something you believe will happen than on something you believe is unlikely. Controlled attention is the act of coordinating all the faculties of your mind and directing their combined power to a specific end. Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy your mind at the same time. Independence starts with self-dependence.

Budget Your Time and Money

Tell me how you use your time and how you spend your money, and I will tell you where and what you’ll be ten years from now. Take regular inventory of yourself to learn how and where you are spending your time and money. The secret of getting things done is: DO IT NOW! Time is too precious to be wasted on arguments and discontent. Some mistakes can be corrected, but not the mistake of wasting time. When time is gone, it’s gone forever.

Use of Cosmic Habitforce

It takes a habit to replace a habit. All of your successes and failures are results of habits you have formed. The orderliness of the world of natural laws gives evidence that they are under control of a universal plan. For every result there is a cause, and results are brought about through the use of cosmic habitforce. First you get a habit, then it gets you.

Create Personal Initiative

It is better to act on a plan that is still weak than to delay acting at all. Procrastination is the archenemy of personal initiative. Personal Initiative: is contagious succeeds where others fail creates work creates opportunity creates the future creates advancement Procrastinators are experts in creating alibis. Personal initiative is the inner power that starts all action.

Build a Positive Mental Attitude

A Positive Mental Attitude is the single most important principle of the science of success, without which you cannot get the maximum benefit from the other sixteen principles. Success attracts success and failure attracts more failure. Your mental attitude is the only thing over which you, and only you, have complete control. A Positive Mental Attitude attracts opportunities for success, while a Negative Mental Attitude repels opportunities and doesn’t even take advantage of them when they do come along. A positive mind finds a way it can be done… a negative mind looks for all the ways it can’t be done.

Control Your Enthusiasm

To be enthusiastic-act enthusiastically! Enthusiasm is to progress toward success, as gasoline is to a car’s engine. It is the fuel that drives things forward. Enthusiasm stimulates your subconscious mind. By feeding your conscious mind with enthusiasm, you impress upon your subconscious that your burning desire and your plan for attaining it are certain. Enthusiasm is a state of mind. It inspires action and is the most contagious of all emotions. Enthusiasm is more powerful than logic, reason, or rhetoric in getting your ideas across and in winning over others to your viewpoint.

Enforce Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is the process that ties together all your efforts of controlling your mind, your personal initiative, positive mental attitude and controlling your enthusiasm. Self-discipline makes you think before you act. The subconscious has access to all departments of the mind, but is not under the control of any. If you don’t discipline yourself, you are sure to be disciplined by others. Without self-discipline, you are as dangerous as a car running downhill without brakes or steering wheel.

Think Accurately

Thoughts have power, are under your control, and can be used wisely or unwisely. Accurate thinkers accept no political, religious, or other type of thought, regardless of its source, until it is carefully analyzed. Accurate thinkers are the masters of their emotions. Accurate thought involves two fundamentals. First you must separate facts from information. Second you must separate facts into two classes? The important and unimportant. Accurate thinkers allow no one to do their thinking for them.

How to Earn Money As a Freelancer – Becoming a Freelancer

How to Earn Money As a Freelancer - Becoming a Freelancer

Two Methods: Becoming a Freelancer Understanding Freelance Work

Freelancing means to have different jobs or short-term assignments or contracts with number of companies, websites, organizations, etc., without any long-term contract. The Internet has greatly expanded opportunities to earn money working as a freelancer. Approximately 10.3 million Americans work for themselves, a number that is expected to grow in the future.[1] Freelancing can be freeing, as the name suggests, as well as empowering and challenging

Method 1: Becoming a Freelancer

Earn Money As a Freelancer Step

  1. Decide on your craft. Decide what type of freelance work you are committed to doing. Freelancing jobs are as broad as the work force, and you need identify what it is you want to do before you can begin to do it. View your skills as valuable resources that are worth charging and receiving pay for.

Reflect on what you’re good at. Just about every type of skill can be turned into a freelancing opportunity. Keep in mind that you’re „secondary” skills, like researching and writing, for example, can be just as useful as a specific set of skills unique to a profession (e.g., graphic designer or computer programming). If you know you’re a strong writer, then you could develop a freelance writing business.

It’s very easy to believe that you don’t have the necessary skills or experience, but in fact you actually need very little experience in order to get started freelancing. Instead, believe in your abilities and focus on producing good work.

  1. Create a brand. To get your freelancing operation off the ground and becoming profitable, you need to think about how you will market yourself and your products/work. This is called branding. You need to create a brand for your what you’re selling and how it sets you apart from the competition – this is your „identity and includes your website, logo, tagline, blog, and social media accounts, among other aspects.

Your brand should clearly communicate what you do that is special and what you offer that is worth buying. Try to narrow your focus to a specific industry. For example, if you decide you want to do freelance writing, you might only decide to write for online travel sites and business and thus be a freelance travel writer. Or you might decide you want to write for business and corporate websites. Specializing within the field (in this case, the very broad field of writing) will make you more attractive to potential clients because it shows you have a particular rather than a generic set of skills, also known as a niche.

However, don’t let the brand be your primary focus. You could have a huge Instagram or Twitter or Gebyar4D following, but that doesn’t really pay the bills. Don’t worry about followers or retweets, and instead focusing on producing quality work. That’s the ultimate way to build your freelancing business and earn money.

  1. Build a portfolio showcasing your work. A lot of potential clients are less interested in your specific qualifications than in a demonstrated ability to do the job. They want to see samples of your work and decide whether you’re a good fit for their particular project. So building a strong portfolio of your work (samples as well as past projects) is key to building your business and in fact, you shouldn’t launch your freelancing business until you have this portfolio. Include as well testimonials of people and organizations who you’ve worked with. Reading glowing reviews will help boost your profile among prospective clients.

Generating submissions for your portfolio takes time and resources. If you have no paid assignments or previous work to put in a portfolio, create some by offering your services pro bono or taking your free time to produce some.

Remember that more is not always better. Although volume can be good and help with self-promotion, it’s also important to try to incorporate some bigger and higher profile jobs, rather than just building a portfolio full of the smallest and least lucrative projects. If you want to make big money by working with high-paying clients, then you need to show those clients that you can produce the kind of work they’re looking for. Again, consider offering pro bono when you’re first starting out.[8]

Don’t launch your freelancing career until you’ve actually created the products or provided the services you plan to sell. Having the portfolio shows clients that you’ve actually done what you’re telling them you can do.

  1. Develop business-savvy skills. You may be a freelancer, but you also need to be a business man or woman. To successfully earn money as a freelancer and turn it into a career, you need to become familiar with the basics of operating a business, like taxes, bookkeeping, marketing, etc. In many cases, these business basics will take more time than the actual freelance service or product you offer!

Consider talking to friends (in real life or online) who’ve earned money freelancing about the business ins and outs. You could also consult a number of books and online sites about how to start up a business from the ground.

Although it might seem premature to worry about the „business” of your freelance work, having a business model with goals, deliverables, benchmarks, and so on can help you determine the scope and scale of your freelancing operation. A clear business model, and transparent accounts and books, will also show clients that you’re the real deal – a professional freelancer and not just someone working in their pajamas at home.

  1. Set up an invoicing system. Part of doing freelancing as a way to earn real money means setting up a system for charging and receiving payment. Before you reach out to potential clients and start actually doing the freelancing work, be ready for it. It’s a lot easier to keep up with accounting and invoicing along the way, rather than leaving it until later on or even until the dreaded tax season. Create a financial framework that will make it easy for you to keep organized financial money. Doing this will also help you track how much money you’re earning and whether you’re making a profit.[11]Consider doing the following:

Set prices for the services or products you offer. Figure out if you charge an hourly rate or per piece/product. Be ready to explain how you charge for what you’re offering (i.e., the breakdown).

Create invoice templates. Using a word-processing tool (like Microsoft Excel, for example), design an invoice that has all of the important information (service rendered, cost, payment, addresses of the payee and payer, etc.).

Establish an accounting plan and consider opening up a business bank account. Often banks have special services and fees for business bank accounts.

Look into how much you should be charging and setting aside for taxes.

  1. Get paying clients. Once you have a portfolio, it’s time to get out there and start pitching to clients. Freelancing successfully is a numbers game — the more potential clients you locate and reach out, the more likely you are to get work and, most importantly, get paid.[12] You can begin by tapping into your personal network of family, friends, and old coworkers. Ask them for referrals; this can help bring in some startup work that can get your freelancing operation off the ground. However, you’ll also need to make the first move and branch out in a lot of cases in order to earn good money. When pitching your product or services to new clients, pitch only to those clients who are relevant. And pitch to a lot of them.

Try the 10-before-10 rule; pitch to 10 potential clients before 10 in the morning during the work week.

If you’re still working other jobs, set aside some of your free time to starting building up a client network that you can draw on in the future.

You should know who your target clients are if you’ve branded yourself properly. Remember that businesses want to work with freelancers who seem like their services/products were designed just for the needs of those businesses. The concept of specialization, mentioned above, creates this sense.[14]

You could also try using a freelance market. There are several online freelance marketplaces like Elance and oDesk, where you can offer your services and look up and pitch to clients. These can be very useful for freelancers just starting out.