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Preparing for retirement is a difficult and complicated process that will likely last you your whole life. You might even change your expectations or plans several times before reaching retirement age. There are many ways to go about the process, but if you take the time to build a few habits into your life you’ll feel much more comfortable in the end. These habits are not the only things to consider or utilize in your planning, but they will set you up for a successful and comfortable retirement in the long run.

 

Saving 15% of Income

An old stand-by was to save 10% of your income and set it aside for retirement. But this was a rule of thumb that grew up in a time where social security was stronger, life spans were shorter, and there were massive returns on the average investment. Today, it’s wiser to be safe and save more. Your typical retirement advisor will likely push for a 15% saving average. This is a lot, but it’s a sacrifice worth making in the interest of a comfortable retirement. If you aren’t in a place where you can save a full 15%, then it’s still a good financial decision to bump up whatever your standard saving is. Make it an amount you can be comfortable with, but don’t let your retirement be a secondary thought.

Avoiding Debt

Entering retirement with a large amount of debt is fairly common today, but this is difficult to deal with because it means larger retirement savings will be needed to keep up with it. Having to deal with creditors and debtors through your golden years isn’t an ideal thought, but it’s worth admitting that this is unavoidable at times. Make the long-term commitments that can put you in line with a debt-free retirement. Debt, in general, is something that should be avoided. Financial success in old age builds upon your current financial state. Every time you incur debts, this decreases the maximum potential for your retirement savings. The only ‘acceptable’ kind of debt to take on are mortgages and student loans, both of which are very good at increasing your worth.

Invest in Index Funds

Index funds can be some of the most consistent investments to make today. Many index funds are on the marketplace, but not all are created the same. The S&P 500 is one of the best examples of what to look at when investing. If you’re particularly interested in stock trading, this can certainly be a good hobby for retirement preparations – but it’s far riskier than simple and stable investments.