Preparing for Retirement: Investing Tips and Tricks

Juliet D'cruz

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Preparing for Retirement

Realistically speaking, retirement isn’t actually that far away for most of us out there.  No matter how old you are or what period of your life you’re in, it’s never too early to start preparing.  Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done.  

To say that we’re living in a world of uncertainties right now is probably an understatement.  Every day it feels like there’s another terrible thing happening on the news.  It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in our futures, admittedly, but at the same time, it does encourage us to start preparing as soon as we can.  After all, who knows what sorts of storms we’ll end up weathering! 

Today, that’s what we’ll be discussing – some of the strategies that we can use to start preparing for our retirement.  Although it may seem a bit strange to talk about this stuff considering everything that’s happening in the world, hopefully you can agree that it actually makes our retirement plans more critical than ever.

One: Figure Out if Your Employer Offers Pension or 401(k) Plans

To some of you readers out there, this is kind of a no-brainer.  In fact, it’s usually something that’s discussed during the initial hiring process.  However, we still think it’s valuable to cover today, since not everyone is aware of how it works.  

Generally speaking, there are two main ways that employers can contribute to our retirement funds.  These are, of course, pensions and 401(k)s.  They operate quite differently though.

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Pensions are a bit rarer these days.  Typically, they’re for employees who work for one employer for a long period of time.  When they retire, they’ll essentially still be getting paid, just at a lower amount.  The specifics of the arrangement will largely depend on who your employer is and what stipulations they set.

With 401(k) accounts, it’s different.  Each month, you put aside a certain amount of your pay checks to be deposited into that account.  Then, your employer matches that to a specific percentage that you’ve already agreed upon.  These accounts can also be moved between your employers if you change jobs, although there may be some fees associated.

If you do not already have some sort of arrangement like this with your employer (when eligible, of course), then it may be time to initiate that conversation.  See if they’re open to working with you on it, and hopefully this can be a nice way to passively generate some savings without having to think about it too much!

Two: Choose Your Assets Wisely

Next, let’s chat about one of the most important parts of preparing to be a retiree – investing.  Obviously, that’s going to involve choosing what to invest in.  We call those assets, and you’ll be putting them in your portfolio. 

You’ve likely heard this wisdom before, but it’s a good idea to keep your portfolio as diverse as possible.  Read some more on it here,, and when you’re back, we’ll discuss it a bit more.  The key is to try to spread out into as many different markets as possible.

With that said, don’t do it willy-nilly.  Approach it strategically and keep an eye on market trends.  That way, you can track what sorts of markets are excelling in turbulent times versus which ones are suffering!  This info can be valuable in the future, so if you’re the type who enjoys making spreadsheets or something like that, keep it in mind.

Precious Metals

Now, let’s take a brief moment to acknowledge that precious metals have been getting a lot of publicity lately.  It seems like everyone is celebrating the fact that they’re an excellent form of investing, both in general and for retirement.  How true are those claims, though?

You may be surprised to learn that it’s actually rather accurate.  There’s more details on that here,, but we’ll be covering it as well.  Essentially, you can look at them as a way to store some of your net worth in an asset other than paper currency.

Why bother with doing that?  Look around at the news, and you can get some idea of it.  Let’s face it – the current state of the economy demonstrates perfectly how tenuous the worth of the United States dollar is.  Putting all of our faith in a currency like that is risky, to say the least.

This is where precious metals come into play.  The main four are known as palladium, platinum, silver, and gold.  Most of us have probably heard of the latter three already.  Palladium is an interesting case because it’s technically in the platinum family.  However, it’s noted as separate because of its unique applications in the car manufacturing industry.

Are they worth it, then?  Honestly, it’s hard to say “no” to that question.  While we aren’t saying that you should drop everything and spend your whole life’s savings on gold, shoring up some investments in this market probably isn’t a bad idea.  It’ll give you a source of income to fall back on in times of trouble.

Additionally, there are plenty of ways that we can actually take precious metals and use them specifically for our retirement.  These are known as individual retirement arrangements or IRAs.  If you decide to go for something like that, it would be a self-arranged IRA.  Depending on what you’re looking for, you can even end up putting your coin collection into one of them!

Of course, if you do take that route, it’s going to be important to double check on it before you make a firm there.  Some coins won’t be eligible, while other ones are.  Feel free to consult with an agency before you delve into that sort of IRA account.

Three: Don’t Touch Your Retirement Fund Too Early

If you want to hear about why this is so important, you can check out this blog.  Generally speaking, though, this is pretty self-explanatory.  The idea here is that you don’t want to tap into these funds that you’re saving until well into your retirement.  

Certainly, you don’t want to start taking money out or withdrawing it before you hit your golden years in the first place.  That defeats the purpose of saving up, at least in this context.  So, heed these words of wisdom well, no matter how tempting it is to tap into this money or wealth prematurely.

Four: Figure out Your Goals and Stick to Them

For our final tip today, our recommendation is that you figure out what you need out of your retirement.  From there, you can create a game plan for achieving that.  This plan should include an outline of your long-term goals as well as your short-term ones.

Make sure that you stick to whatever budget you end up establishing to help accomplish these things.  Self-discipline is a huge part of investing and retirement preparation in general, as you have probably figured out from everything we’ve covered thus far.  If you aren’t able to create a budget and stick to it, you’ll have a hard time with almost all of the things we’ve discussed here today.

Be sure to cultivate your savings skills as you decide how you want to invest your money for the future.  Essentially, as you pick assets and work with a financial advisor of sorts, keep the basic investment principles in mind.  Ideally, your goal is to have assets that will gradually grow in value (or do so rapidly).

Precious metals are the one exception there, of course, so that’s not necessarily a hard rule.  Either way, though, investing is somewhat of a delicate balance between taking risks and avoiding them.  It genuinely is a skill that you can hone, so don’t feel discouraged if you’re having a difficult time when you first get started.

After all, we all start somewhere in life.  This sort of financial stuff may not come to you easily.  Even if that’s the case, you can still do well for yourself and prepare adequately for your retirement.  It may just take a bit more effort or extra time to do so.

Figure out what you want to add to your investment portfolio.  Consider how they can add to your “nest egg” of sorts in terms of your retirement funds.  When you think about these two concepts in tandem, you’re bound to be able to come up with a plan for your finances moving forward!