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5 tips to a better retirement

If you’ve had dreams of retiring to a life of excess, relaxation and comfort, you’d better start planning now. While the prospect of saving might be unappealing, it could make you rich in the future. If you don’t want to get stuck with all the old folks in Florida, it would be wise to start considering your options. If you’re in your twenties, you’re in the perfect position to set to be a saving machine. Ways to do that include:
Contribute to a 401(k) Get the magic of compounding on your side. Save as much money as you can as early as possible. Although it’s never too late to start saving, if you’re in your fifties and haven’t started saving yet, there is not a ton of advice for you. Contribute as much money as you can to your company’s 401(k), as most businesses will match every dollar, you get an immediate tax deduction, and receive tax-deferred growth on your savings.
IRA IRAs offer pretty huge tax breaks. There are two types to consider: Traditional, or Roth. A Traditional IRA offers tax-deferred growth, while a Roth IRA offers tax-free growth, but doesn’t allow deductible contributions. There’s something very powerful about compounding growth. Take advantage of these types of retirement funds as soon as possible.
Set savings goals Lots of people are pretty relaxed about their spending habits. It’s easy to get into patterns of spending on food and entertainment. Be deliberate about your purchases and savings. Do you really need to buy breakfast on the way to work everyday for $6, or could you start the morning at home making a couple eggs and bacon for two dollars? These seemingly minor decisions can have a huge impact on your future wealth. Start making goals today. How much will you save this month?
Skip “things” Have you ever heard of the terms “old money” and “new money?” It’s typical of folks with new money to buy lots of things; clothes, cars, jewelry, first class tickets, expensive dinners... Celebrities and professional athletes often fit this bill pretty well. The problem? They can lose everything as quickly as they made it. Physical things lose their value almost immediately after purchase. Invest in the stock market or in a property that you can develop and invest in over time. Buying luxury brands is silly (sorry Gucci lovers), and ultimately you’ll pay for it when you “retire”- but it will feel less like retirement, and more like working in retail when you’re 70. Bummer.
Pay off debt Similar to retirement funds, pay early and often. Debt can be crushing. It can destroy your life in the blink of an eye. Spend within your means. Just because your credit limit was raised does not mean you should max out your cards! It’s best to only use 30% of your credit at any given time. Don’t leave your kids with your mountain of debt to deal with. Pay what you owe as soon as you can, so you can live without stress in the future.
Contribute to retirement funds as early as possible in your career and they will definitely pay off. Set goals for savings and spending for the next five years, and be okay with not buying “things,” and don’t let debt control you.  If you can manage this, you’ll improve the odds of being off to a great, sunny and relaxing retirement.
About the Author: Peter Walters is a freelance writer and covers home protection and social media.


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