Seven Tips for Investing Success
Start Investing TodayProcrastination can put a big dent in your retirement investments. Take a look at this example:1
As the example shows, John started investing at age 25 and contributed for 10 years. Mary invested for 30 years, but waited until age 35 to get started. At retirement, John has a larger account not because he invested more, but because he started earlier.
Consider the Impact of InflationMost people tend to forget about the effects of inflation when investing for retirement. Even a low rate of inflation adds up over the retirement years and shrinks the buying power of your investment. Look at these real-life examples of inflation:
Make Informed DecisionsDo you spend more time researching the purchase of a new car or cell phone than in choosing your retirement plan investments? It is important to take enough time to understand what you are investing in so you make the right long-term decisions. You should also review your asset allocation (the mix of stocks, bonds, and cash in your portfolio) once a year to make sure it's still suited for your needs.
Don't Spend Your Retirement Investment When You Leave a JobIf you take a cash distribution from your retirement plan when you leave a job, you will lose a substantial portion of it to taxes and penalties. Here's what you will pay:
Be Sure to Collect Your Match MoneyIf your company offers a match based on your retirement plan contributions and you are not participating, you are missing out on extra money. Your employer will make this contribution for you if you participate in the plan and you meet the match requirements. This match contribution will help your investment grow faster.
Take Advantage of the Power of CompoundingInvest as much as you can in your IRA or 401(k), even if you can't afford the maximum. You don't have to contribute $5,500 every year to start building assets tax-deferred. Even $100 a month can make a big impact over time. Try our Power of Compounding Calculator to see how different investment amounts and rates of return can affect your nest egg.
Invest RegularlyIt's important to view investing as a process, not a one-time event. Often, one of the reasons we don't start investing sooner is because, after paying bills and spending money elsewhere, we don't think there's anything left over. By using an dollar cost averaging, you protect yourself against buying too much when prices are high and help reduce the temptation to sell at a bad time i.e., when prices are low. You can also make sure you fully fund your IRA each year automatically.
Please keep in mind that a program of regular investments cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. And, since such a program involves continuous investment regardless of fluctuating share values, you should consider your financial ability to continue the program through periods of low price levels.