Smart retirement planning boils down to a few simple truths.
Time is on your side. The earlier you start saving money, the more time you give compounding to work for you.
Take risks when you're young. Although stocks are three times more volatile than government bonds, it earns nearly twice the average annual return.
Don't pay high fees for fancy accounts. Every dollar paid to a fund manager is a dollar that can't compound. Index funds charge a fraction of an equity mutual fund because they don't hire high-priced investment managers to pick stocks.
It's not about retirement. Saving for retirement might be the goal, but following these steps could provide general financial security.
In personal finance, using frugality to save money is an obvious option. The less money you spend, the more money you save. You can find thousands of blogs with tips on not buying your espresso at a coffee shop, making your own soap or thrift shopping.
When you buy mutual funds, you are charged a purchase fee upfront. This is a one-time payment to the fund management institution. Annually, you will be charged with a percentage of management fees, commonly known as “expense ratio”, which can be expensive.
Beware when advisors at your bank recommend mutual funds to buy. They might be earning a sales commission.
Does compounding matter to your investment returns? HELL YES! Your contributions matter most but it's the power of compounding that leads to a wealth snowball. Want proof? Just look at these numbers...
At first glance, compounding does not look remarkable. However, looking at compounding in action, you will notice a few things.
Consider, for example, investing in stocks at an average real return of 6.8%. (It is inflation-adjusted.) During the first few years, compounding doesn't really do much.After ten years, your initial investment would nearly double. After 16 years, your initial investment would triple, and in 20 years, it will quadruple. By year 40, you're earning more than your initial investment every year.
The biggest misconception about investing is that it's reserved for the rich. That might've been true to some extent 10 years ago. But that barrier to entry is gone today, knocked down by companies and services that have made it their mission to make investment options available for everyone, including beginners and those who have just small amounts of money to put to work.