Common Sense Retirement Advice from an Average Mom (#GenworthUSA )

This retirement discussion has been brought to you by Genworth Financial and Brandfluential but all opinions expressed here are my own.

When my husband and I got married almost 20 years ago we were only a few years out of college. While we may have been young, we had clear goals for how we wanted our lives to play out over the next several decades. The day to day hassles of work, kids, and life sometimes take up a majority our our time but we never forget those long term goals that we have set for ourselves. We have managed to check off our own educational goals and having 2 children before the age of thirty but our financial goals need to be worked on regularly to achieve our dream of a relaxing retirement. Sometimes, retirement advice can be tricky to understand. Exactly which type of plan should you invest in? How do you know how much money you will need when you retire? I am not a financial adviser so I am not going to go into the nitty gritty of planning for your retirement. Instead, I am going to give you a quick look at how *I* (an average mom, wife and well educated woman) am trying to plan for our retirement. I hope this gives you a starting place for your own retirement planning.

Common Sense Retirement Advice

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1. Start early!  When my husband and I were just starting out after college we managed to scrounge up enough money to put $50 a month into a retirement account. It certainly wasn’t much but with a new mortgage and a new baby and me quitting my job to stay home that is all we could afford. Remember that every single dollar helps because when you add up the interest that dollar will earn over 40 years you will be surprised at how much you have actually saved!

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket:  Savings accounts give you a pitiful amount of interest. Open something with a little higher return like a money market or look at some long term CD rates. Whatever you do, don’t put all of your money in one account. If you get company stocks as part of your retirement package put away money on your own in bonds or something NOT attached to your company. If the business fails you don’t want your entire retirement savings going under with it!

3. Understand your retirement benefits:  Before you start planning for retirement you need to understand your benefits from your place of employment. Go to the human resources department and see if they can sit down with you to explain things clearly. What exactly are you eligible for? At what age? What happens if you retire early? Which benefits will stay the same over the course of your retirement and which ones can be dropped or changed after a certain amount of time. Go in with a list of questions and make sure that they are answered clearly in language that you understand.

4.  Make a Written Plan:  This is one area my husband and I still need to work on. While vague ideas and numbers are nice to start, things written down on paper are more apt to be accomplished. You will actually need to do math, here, so get out your handy calculator! You will need an educated guess of what age you want to retire at, how long you think you MAY live (obviously a guess but look at family history for a starting point), and how much you think you might need to live on every year. Remember to factor in the type of life you would like to live when you retire. If you want to jet set to Europe every year you will need considerably more money than if you want to live on a little farm and spend your free time reading.


5. Aim to be debt free by retirement age:  You cannot comfortably retire if you are loaded down with debt. That means you need to plan on paying off your mortgage and car loans before you retire. And for heaven’s sake, do NOT take out a loan to put your kids through college. If they need financial assistance to pay for school, have them take out a student loan in their own name to help pay tuition. If you have the money when they are done with school you can help them pay it off but they will get much better loan rates than you will and can be responsible for paying off their own debt when they start their new career rather than putting off your retirement.

Retirement is something my husband and I dream about on a daily basis but it is a dream that we have to plan carefully for. We want to be able to spend our retirement doing things that we enjoy but that means we need to be financially stable when we hit retirement age.

This retirement discussion has been brought to you by Genworth Financial and Brandfluential but all opinions expressed here are my own.






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